In 2001, Martina Hingis was twenty years old. She was born in Czechoslovakia, but she had been living in Switzerland since she was a child. Martina was the most successful female tennis player in the world. Since she won her first professional tournament in 1993, she had won $US12,746,315 by playing tennis.
Dubravko Rajcevic, a boat designer, was born in Croatia but had emigrated to Australia and become an Australian citizen. He was divorced. His seven-year old son was living with his mother.
In 2001, Dubravko, who was 46 years old at that time, was sentenced to three years in jail in Florida in the United States. He had been found guilty of stalking.
The English verb stalk means to walk very quietly and carefully when you are hunting an animal, but often, when people use the word stalking, they are not talking about hunting animals; they are talking about following another person.
Sometimes, when one person stalks another, they do it because they want to frighten them or even kill them. But often one person stalks another person because they love them. In many countries, stalking is a crime. You can go to jail because you have been following someone and bothering them even though you have never hurt them in any other way.
Dubravko went to jail because he had been stalking Martina. He had been doing this because he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. It all began in 1999. At that time, Dubravko had just got divorced and he had become interested in watching womens tennis on television. He became especially interested in Martina and finally fell in love with her.
Soon after he fell in love with her, Dubravko heard that Martina was playing tennis in Germany. He found out what hotel she was staying in and phoned her there. When he called the first time, Martina refused to speak to him. But he phoned again and again, and finally she spoke to him. She told him to stop calling her and to get out of her life.
Then Dubravko travelled to France where Martina was playing in another tournament. He phoned her many times at her hotel there and told her how much he loved her. He also faxed her romantic notes. When the tournament was over, he followed her to her home in Zurich. He went to her house and rang the doorbell, holding a bouquet of flowers in his arms.
Next, Dubravko followed Martina to a very important tournament in Wimbledon, in England. Martina did not play well in that tournament. She says this was because she knew he was watching her and this made her nervous.
Dubravko kept following Martina from one tournament to another. Finally, he was arrested at a tournament in Florida and charged with stalking. He refused to sign a paper saying he would stop following her, and so, he went to jail.
At his trial, Dubravko laughed and smiled a lot. He spoke directly to Martina even though the judge told him not to. He said he was sure that Martina really had loved him in the beginning. He agreed that she didnt love him any more, but he said that was only because he had been in jail for a year and she had probably found someone new.
- information from The Miami Herald, 01.04.03 and The National Post, 01.04.03 and 01.04.04