Jelena Dokic is attacking online trolls who have bombarded her with what she says are “disgusting” comments about her physical appearance.
The former Australian tennis star, 39, who was a commentator at the Australian Open this weekend, made an Instagram post that highlighted a number of people who criticized her body during an interview with nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
“The body shaming of the past 24 hours has been insane,” Dokic wrote, along with several screenshots of the offensive messages that she compared to a “whale” and advised that she should “refrain” from eating “candy bars” and “baklava”. “
The player, whose family is from Serbia, noted that body shaming coming from Serbia was particularly bad — and that a lot of the messages were from women.
“So much for the women who support women,” she wrote.
“Evil. There is no other word for it,” she wrote. “Disgusting. People should be so ashamed. The most common comment is ‘what happened to her, she’s so big’? I’ll tell you what happened, find a way and live and fight. And it doesn’t really matter what I do and what happened because size shouldn’t matter. Kindness And being a good person matters to those of you who obviously offend me and others.”
“What matters is your online abuse, the bullying and the fat shame,” she told the critics. “That’s what matters because those of you who do that are just evil, bad, mean, and ignorant people. I can and will be in good shape for myself and my health but you won’t become a better person.”
The star went on to say that “the weight will change but the bad guys will stay bad.”
“I am here, fighting for everyone who is being abused and fat shamed,” she wrote. “I can’t change the world, but I will continue to speak up, call out that behavior, use my platform for something good and support others out there and give others a voice and try to make others feel less lonely and sacred.”
Dokic went on to thank the supporters, all of whom she calls “really good people”.
She ended the post, “I love you all, even the trolls.” “You give me so much motivation and inspiration to do what I do and to fight against people like you.”
Dokic, who retired in 2014 after several highs in her career — including the 1999 Wimbledon quarter-finals when she was just 16, and reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals one year later — has been open in the past about how her mental health struggles are. She almost led her own life.
Body-size abusive messages are just the latest messages I encountered ahead of this year’s Australian Open. On Friday, she revealed a disturbing message written by someone who encouraged her to “kill herself.”
“New low and this actually made me cry this morning when I got up and read that,” Dokic wrote in a post alongside a screenshot of the message. But she didn’t let it get her down. Instead, she used her platform to raise the alarm about how messages like this have real-life consequences.
“Just when you think online abuse and trolling can’t get any worse,” she wrote. “Nearly a million people commit suicide in the world every year. This is so scary and so sad to have people like this disgusting person and a few others out there laughing at it!? How disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
“What kind of person could write something like that and then laugh worse at it?” she added. “Bad person, that is. And of course an ignorant person.”
She continued, “I think of all those who committed suicide, those who wanted to, those who lost friends and loved ones to suicide and all those who are struggling.” “I’m fighting for all those who feel they don’t have a voice, those who don’t feel heard, those who struggle, and for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts, have lost loved ones and friends to suicide and I fight ignorance, bad people, trolls, online abuse and disgusting human beings.”
Dokic noted that many people “reached an absolute breaking point” before encouraging her followers to “be kind, caring, and understanding.”
She added, “Sending so much love to all the good people out there and especially to those who are struggling.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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