By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com December 31 2002 12:00 AM ET
Martina Navratilova has criticized Damir Dokic, father of tennis player Jelena Dokic, saying that his comments about lesbians dominating the pro tour are "stupid" and that she feels sorry for him. Navratilova, 46, who is playing doubles this week at the Australian women's hard-court championships, said Sunday she was surprised that Dokic had threatened earlier this month to commit suicide if he ever found out that Jelena was lesbian. "It's a good thing that I am not his daughter then," said Navratilova, adding, "maybe it's too bad I'm not." Dokic also told a European newspaper that more than 40% of women on the world tour are lesbian. "That's a pretty stupid comment to make, obviously, if his sense of worth as a father is whether your daughter is a lesbian or not," said Navratilova. "If that's the most important thing to him, then I really feel sorry for him."
Navratilova is beginning the final year of a three-year comeback campaign in Australia. Since coming out of retirement in 2000, she became the oldest player to win a WTA tour title when she triumphed earlier this year in Madrid. She wants to add a few more wins to her string of 166 doubles victories before retiring again at the end of 2003. Navratilova will partner with 17-year-old former world junior champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia at the hard courts and at the Australian Open, which begins January 13. Navratilova said that portions of her game are better than ever. "Technically I am so much sounder than I was 10 years ago or 20 years ago," she said. "Obviously there are a lot of ingredients that go into the making of a champion, and you have to pretty much have them all to get there and stay there." Navratilova and Kuznetsova will meet Evgenia Koulikovskaya of Russia and Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus in a first-round match on Monday or Tuesday.