The 5 Worst Tennis Fathers of All Time

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

The 5 Worst Tennis Fathers of All Time

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    Most tennis fathers are just like other sports dads.

    They are passionate about their child's participation. They may occasionally get riled up when they perceive their child is being slighted. However, most are loving and supportive. 

    You have some tennis dads who spark controversy with their words, like Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams

    There are also seemingly emotionally enmeshed relationships like that between Marion Bartoli and her father, Walter Bartoli, who ditched his career as a doctor to coach his daughter.

    In the middle of a 2011 Wimbledon match, Bartoli stopped play and demanded her father leave the stadium. 

    Then there are those fathers who go beyond brash behavior. Their actions escalate to abusive, even criminal activity.

    These fathers are menacing. They break rules and make a mess of their child's life. 

    With Father's Day just days away, we look at the all-time worst tennis fathers.  

    This list includes John Tomic, father of Australian player Bernard Tomic.

    John Tomic was recently arrested in Madrid after allegedly head-butting his son's hitting partner. He reportedly left the hitting partner unconscious and with a broken nose.  

    Instead of tacky ties and bad cologne, these fathers deserve entrance to a Father's Day "Hall of Shame."

5. Stefano Capriati, Father of Jennifer Capriati

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    Stefano Capriati pushed the "pushy parent" model to a whole new level. Notorious for dragging his daughter onto the professional circuit at age 13, Capriati gained a reputation as a bully.

    In 2002, Jennifer Capriati was not selected for the Fed Cup team largely because her father refused to follow rules.  

    Former USA Today writer Ian O'Connor once wrote that Stefano Capriati used his daughter as "a ponytailed ATM."

4. Marinko Lucic, Father of Mirjana Lucic

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    Former rising tennis star Mirjana Lucic left her home in Croatia with her mother and four siblings to escape her abusive father Marinko Lucic.

    In response to his daughters allegations, Lucic issued a statement that was published in The Telegraph:

    “I never used excessive force, and if I did give her the occasional slap, it was because of her behaviour; I did what I believed what was best for the child.”  

3. John Tomic, Father of Bernard Tomic

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    John Tomic has been banned from ATP tournaments pending the outcome of his trial.  

    Tomic was charged with assaulting the hitting partner of his son, Bernard Tomic.

    His hitting partner claims John Tomic head-butted him and left him in bandages. He faces up to three years in prison if convicted

    Despite the arrest, Bernard Tomic plans to keep his father as coach

2. Damir Dokic, Father of Jelena Dokic

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    Damir Dokic, father of Jelena Dokic, was ejected from the 2000 Wimbledon championships after he broke a journalist's camera.

    He also served time in prison for threatening to assassinate the Australian ambassador to Serbia.

    The former wrestler almost achieved the bad dad career Grand Slam. He was also ejected from the U.S. Open for complaining about the price of salmon and accused the Australian Open of fixing the draw.   

    Forever shooting off his mouth, Dokic once said that if he found out his daughter was a lesbian, he would kill himself. Tennis great Martina Navratilova was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying, "It's a good thing I'm not his daughter then....  (Actually) it's too bad I'm not."  

1. Jim Pierce, Father of Mary Pierce

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    Jim Pierce once reportedly screamed "Mary, kill the bitch" at a tennis tournament his daughter Mary Pierce played in.

    He verbally and physically abused his daughter. His outbursts at events were so bad that the WTA banned him from attending all tournaments.

    Mary Pierce became so fearful of her father that she took out a restraining order and hired a bodyguard.

Dishonorable Mention: Arsalan Rezai, Father of Aravane Rezai

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    French player Aravane Rezai filed a complaint against her father Arsalan Rezai for “harassment, intentional violence and death threats.”

    During the 2011 Australian Open, the WTA issued a statement: "A serious safety matter has been brought to the WTA's attention, which has resulted in a family member of Aravane Rezai being indefinitely suspended from all future WTA events pending our investigation." 

Dishonorable Mention: Peter Graf, Father of Steffi Graf

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    Peter Graf, the father of tennis great Steffi Graf, was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion.

    However, while criminal, evading taxes is not the reason Graf gets the bad dad tag. He makes the dishonorable mention list because his conviction involved $7.4 million of his daughter's income.

    This opened up an investigation by the WTA into appearance fees Steffi Graf may have taken in violation of the tour's rules.

    Peter Graf's mishandling of his daughter's funds brought shame to an otherwise brilliant career.   

Dishonorable Mention: Mike Agassi, Father of Andre Agassi

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    In his autobiography Open, Andre Agassi calls his father "violent by nature." 

    The tennis great recalled being in a car with his father when he pulled a gun on another driver. He also remembers placing a call to his father after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1992. According to Agassi, his father said, "You had no business losing that fourth set." 


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