The father of tennis player Jelena Dokic has been arrested in Serbia for threatening to blow up the Australian embassy in Belgrade after his daughter told an Australian magazine that he had physically abused her.
Damic Dokic was detained in Vrdnik, northwest Serbia, on Wednesday after saying that he would throw a bomb at the car of the Australian ambassador to Serbia, Clare Birgin, if the claims were not retracted — despite admitting that he had beaten his daughter.
Police were carrying out a search of his house late Wednesday night, the Interior Minister Ivica Davic said.
Dokic told Blic, a tabloid newspaper in Serbia, that he had an arsenal of weapons at his house and would only have to click his fingers to be supplied with a grenade launcher.
"I expect that after my threat the local police will react, arrest me and confiscate my weapons," he said. "But that would only increase the danger for the ambassador."
His outburst came after his 26-year-old daughter, who has Australian citizenship, and who is ranked number 71 in the world, told Sport and Style magazine that her father had abused her throughout her early days on the tennis circuit.
"I've been through a lot worse than anybody on the tour," she said. "I can say that with confidence."
After her interview, Dokic admitted that he had beaten his daughter, telling Blic: "There is no child that was not beaten by parents — same with Jelena."
He went on to tell Vecernje Novosti, another Serb newspaper: "If I was ever a little bit more aggressive towards Jelena, it was for her sake."
Jelena, who burst on to the tennis scene in 1999 at age 16, when she beat the then World No. 1 Martina Hingis at Wimbledon, has been shadowed for years by rumors of her father's abuse. Coaches and teammates told of hearing her being hit in her hotel room, and of seeing bruises on her.
She fled her family in 2002 after a tournament in Europe and has hardly spoken to her father since.