Birthdate: 12 April 1983
Birthplace: Osijek, Croatia
Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 60 kg
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Started playing tennis: Aged eight
Career high singles: 4 August 19, 2002
Career high doubles: 10 February 4, 2002
Born in Osijek, Serbia, Jelena started playing tennis aged eight, after watching Croatia-born Monica Seles on television.
Enrolled in tennis lessons, Jelena was soon beating players much older than her but, with access to the sport limited in war-torn Serbia, Jelena, her parents and little brother Savo moved to Australia in 1994.
Based in Sydney, she trained daily at White City tennis club where she was renowned for her hard work and commitment to the game.
In 1998 Jelena won the US Open girls’ singles title and became the youngest player to represent Australia in Fed Cup.
The following year she qualified for Wimbledon and made history by defeating Martina Hingis in the opening round – becoming the lowest ranked player in the Open era to defeat a top seed at a Grand Slam. It was the performance that kick-started her career, launching her to prominence on the world stage.
In 2000 Jelena became the first Australian since Evonne Goolagong Cawley (in 1980) to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon. She reached the semifinals of the Sydney Olympics that same year, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal when she lost to her idol Seles in the play-off.
In 2001 Jelena won her first WTA Tour singles title, made her top 10 debut and changed her nationality to Yugoslavian (now Serbia and Montenegro).
In December 2005 she returned to live in Australia, winning the Australian Open 2006 Play-off and narrowly losing her first round main draw match against Virginie Razzano.
Jelena struggled with injury and depression in 2007, withdrawing from several ITF events. She entered the Australian Open Play-off in December and won through the round robin stage of the event 3-0 before retiring in the quarterfinals with a thigh strain.
Diligent work on the ITF tour in 2008 saw Jelena win three ITF titles, her first trophies since 2002, lifting her ranking within the top 200 for the first time since 2004.
Jelena’s comeback hit new heights after she won the December Showdown in 2008 and earned a wildcard into the main draw of Australian Open 2009.
There she enjoyed a fairytale run to the quarterfinals, defeating No.17 seed Anna Chakvetadze, No.11 seed Caroline Wozniacki and No.29 seed Alisa Kleybanova before losing a tight three-setter to third seed Dinara Safina.
Jelena’s success in Melbourne made her the first player since Lindsay Davenport to win four-straight three-set matches at a Grand Slam, and just the fourth wildcard in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Her results promoted her to No.91 in the rankings, placing her in the top 100 for the 277th week in her career, and the first time since 2003.
She continued to improve her ranking in 2009, playing in the main draw of all four Grand Slams for the first time since 2001.
Things did not go as smoothly for Jelena in 2010, and she dropped out of the top 100 after failing to pass the first round at the Australian Open and defend her quarterfinal points from the previous year. She played a mixture of WTA and ITF circuit events for the remainder of the year, winning three ITF titles in a row in the lead-up to the US Open.
Despite falling in the opening round of qualifying at Flushing Meadows, Jelena rebounded impressively in early 2011. She reached the second round at both the Brisbane International and Australian Open before progressing to the quarterfinals at the Paris Indoors as a qualifier, results which helped her return to the top 100.
But the best was yet to come. In a gritty performance, Jelena won her first WTA title in almost nine years at the Malaysian Open, recovering from a set down in her first two matches and then saving two match points in a thrilling three-set final against Czech Lucie Safarova. A quiet few months ensued before Jelena bobbed up again, tearing through the draw to reach the final on grass at s’Hertogenbosch before losing 7-5 in the third set to Italian Roberta Vinci.
Having cracked the top 50, Jelena carried her good grasscourt form into Wimbledon, where she pushed sixth seed Francesca Schiavone to the limit in an atmospheric first round match on Centre Court, yet ultimately fell in three exciting sets.
Jelena lost in the first round at all three off her US Open tune-up events – due in part to a shoulder injury – yet won through to the second round at Flushing Meadows, helping her to finish the season firmly entrenched within the top 100.
In 2012, Jelena again won through to the second round at the Australian Open. Yet by March she found herself outside the top 100 again after falling in the second round at the Malaysian Open as the defending champion.
Jelena’s proudest career achievement is the No.4 ranking she peaked at in 2002 aged 19. Off-court she enjoys going to the beach, watching movies and shopping.
Grand Slam history
*Dokic was inactive at Grand Slam main draw level in 2005, 2007 and 2008
Year-end singles ranking history