Dear Damir Dokic,
I am writing to you on behalf of a low-lying atoll in the Pacific to invite you and your family to move here.
You have had a bad go, haven't you?
First you left Serbia, for reasons I can only guess at.
Then you left Australia and returned to Serbia because you thought the tennis establishment was working against your very talented daughter Jelena, going as far as rigging the draw of the Australian Open to make it difficult for her.
Now you say you are leaving Belgrade again, this time for England so Jelena can apply for British citizenship.
And all because they will not let you build a mansion and tennis park in a park in the centre of the city!
Well, Damir, please reconsider.
I am quite sure you will NOT like it in England.
Apart from the Fleet Street Press lampooning you mercilessly every time you chuck a wobbly, there are English people in England, lots of them, and they do not play tennis very well.
If you do not believe me, why is the once-revered Wimbledon Tennis and Croquet Club toying with the idea of changing its name to the Wimbledon Croquet and Tennis Club?
England also gets cold. And wet. And grey. And depressing.
Come to our tropical atoll instead.
You would like it here and I am sure we would learn to like you as much as we like all the other coconuts here. And we would love you to build your mansion here. We could even pitch in and help with the thatched roof.
The tennis complex might be a bit more difficult for us to help build, seeing as none of us has actually seen a tennis court, land is at somewhat of a premium on our little atoll and we do not have any topsoil.
I have heard though that Jelena, now ranked fifth in the world, is pretty good on just about any surface. Playing on a coral base will just make her a better all-rounder!
Forgive me, Damir, but I cannot reveal the name or geographical position of our little island.
If I did, every tennis parent with two bob to rub together and nowhere else that wanted them would want to set up camp here.
Or worse, Australia would want to send its surplus asylum-seekers here.
I note, Damir, that a few years ago you made quite a fuss about the price of fish at the U.S. Open.
Well, you will be happy to know that our atoll is near to one of the best tuna-fishing grounds in the world. It is so good that commercial fishing boats from Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the United States can often be seen from our shores.
Do not take any heed of the doom-and-gloom merchants who talk of rising sea levels threatening to swamp low-lying atolls like ours.
It might never happen.
Even if it does, I am quite sure the umpire's chair on your tennis court will still be above water.
And I am sure you will have no shortage of volunteers wanting to sit in the umpire's chair.
The only real downside about the place is that we are a tad isolated. We are many hundreds of miles from anywhere, actually.
Being a small atoll, we have no room for a landing strip.
I guess though that a skiful pilot could land a sea plane in our shallow lagoon. Or maybe not. I guess there is only one way to find out.
We do have access to a ferry.
It comes by our island every three months, without fail, unless, of course, it is in dry dock for repairs or it did not quite make it to dry dock.
When it is out of action, sooner or later they do send a replacement ferry.
They have to.
How else would we get all that tuna, caught so near to our atoll, sent for processing in Thailand and shipped back to us in neat little cans?
Yours in tennis,
Puddleduck Hospital for the Criminally Insane
PS: I see you also have a base in Florida, US. Have you thought about defecting to Cuba?
©2002 John Martin. All Rights Reserved
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