Novak Djokovic’s father in conspicuous absence from Australian Open semifinal
Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, chose to stay away from the australian open semi-final on Friday night after being warned about his conduct by Tennis Australia. Djokovic’s father was caught in photos with pro-Russian spectators after his son’s quarterfinal victory on Wednesday night.
Four spectators were questioned by Victoria Police. after sporting Russian flags with Vladimir Putin’s face on them, while some were seen wearing T-shirts with the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol on them. Tennis Australia previously announced that flags of Russia, both past and present, were completely banned from the grounds of Melbourne Park.
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Serbian star Djokovic beat Rublev of Russia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night. Djokovic’s father was later seen mingling with pro-Russian supporters, who could be heard chanting ‘Serbia, Russia’.
Srdjan posed for photos with pro-Russian supporters, some of whom wore the ‘Z’ symbol. He spoke briefly to the camera in Serbian before leaving.
On Friday, The Telegraph reported that Tennis Australia had warned Djokovic about his father’s actions. The governing body reportedly warned Djokovic and his family not to promote further political causes.
Later on Friday, Srdjan Djokovic released a statement saying that it had not been his intention to get caught up in such controversy. He also added that he and his family understood the unnecessary consequences of the war and revealed that he had decided not to attend Friday night’s game.
“I am here only to support my son. He had no intention of causing such headlines or disruptions,” the statement said. “I was outside with the Novak fans like I have after all my son’s games to celebrate his win and take pictures with them. He had no intention of getting caught up in this.
“My family has lived through the horror of war and we only want peace. So there’s no interruption in tonight’s semi-final for my son or the other player I’ve chosen to watch from home. I wish a great match and I will be cheering on my son, as always”.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia had earlier called for Srdjan to be excluded from Friday night’s semi-final between Djokovic and Tommy Paul, as well as Sunday’s final. Vasyl Myroshnychenko said Tennis Australia should ban Srdjan for “such a misfortune”, while also demanding an apology from Djokovic.
told the herald sun: “It’s up to Tennis Australia to take action. I think it would be a very good idea not to let him in. I don’t know why he would say something like that considering what the Russians are doing in the Ukraine, how many people they have killed, tortured, raped and all the summary executions that have occurred against civilians.”
Myroshnychenko added: “This whole Australian Open tournament from the beginning was a controversy, around the participation of the Russian players, then the flags, now we have seen this provocation. It was further aggravated by the comments that Djokovic’s father made Djokovic is a superstar and he is the number one celebrity in the tennis world, so it is very disappointing to see his father rooting for Russia.”
After the controversial video of Djokovic’s father was posted on social media, Tennis Australia issued a statement asking players to avoid any situation with “the potential to be disruptive”. The statement said: “A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards after a game on Wednesday night and were evicted. A client is now assisting police with unrelated matters.”
“Players and their teams have been informed and reminded of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that has the potential to be disruptive. We continue to work closely with law enforcement and security agencies. law of the event”.
‘Disgusting’ Australian Open scenes condemned by former star
Retired Ukrainian player Alexander Dolgopolov, who is now serving in his country’s army, called pro-Russian supporters at the Australian Open “disgusting.” He wrote on Twitter: “This guy is going to be banned for life, at least for all Australian events right? He looks like he wasn’t the only one. Tennis Australia, what’s going on there?
Tennis Australia had initially allowed Russian flags at the Australian Open as long as they were not used to “disrupt”. However, they were later banned outright after complaints from Myroshnychenko and many others.
Players from Russia and Belarus were banned from playing at Wimbledon in 2022 due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The ATP and WTA tours opposed the move and stripped the Grand Slam of ranking points as a result.
Russian and Belarusian players may compete at the Australian Open, but they have been doing so as “neutral” athletes. Belarusian star Aryna Sabalenka will play the women’s final on Saturday night, while her compatriot Victoria Azarenka reached the semifinal before losing to Elena Rybakena. Russian player Karen Khachanov will play Stefanos Tsistipas in the men’s semifinals on Friday night.
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