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Dokic determined to earn Australian Open spot

Jelena Dokic remained optimistic on Friday about rolling back the years to her best tennis as the 27-year-old bids for an Australian Open entry at next week's wild card playoffs.

sports Updated: Dec 11, 2010 02:31 IST

Jelena Dokic remained optimistic on Friday about rolling back the years to her best tennis as the 27-year-old bids for an Australian Open entry at next week's wild card playoffs.

The Serbian-born player who once stood fourth in the world as a teenager, will aim to earn a place in the field at the first Grand Slam of 2011 with memories of her unexpected run to the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park still relatively fresh.

The Australian whose career has been a study in bad luck and inconsistency said that she plans to intensify her tournament schedule in the upcoming season after working since the summer with new coach Glenn Schaap, one-time mentor to Jennifer Capriati and Dinara Safina. She also dealt with an elbow injury.

Dokic, ranked 137, barely played even on the lower reaches of the WTA during the second half of 2010 as she worked on a long-term tennis plan. "I took some chances and cut my year short. I played fewer tournaments in the second half just so I can prepare," she told local media.

"I think it will pay off for next year," said Dokic, who characterised her form as "the best shape I've been in in the last four or five years."

Dokic will be one of the more experienced players in the field for the playoff, which awards a wild card spot at the Australian Open to winner's on the men's and women's sides.

"I feel really good about next year, I've made a lot of changes to my game and really worked on my fitness. It doesn't guarantee that I'll play well in Australia but I think next year will be really good for me."

Dokic showed promise last summer of a return to form after Wimbledon, winning consecutive ITF Challenger events in France, Romania and Canada, but played only five more events after that.