Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan misses out on Australian Open semi-final


Srdjan Djokovic, the father of tennis star Novak Djokovic, said he would stay away from his son’s semi-final match at the Australian Open, after he was spotted earlier this week posing with fans carrying pro-Russian symbols banned by the tournament.

In a statement released hours before his son beat up Tommy Paul of the United States In straight sets, Srdjan Djokovic confirmed that he would not attend to avoid creating any “disturbance” and said: “I am here only to support my son.”

A video shared online this week appeared to show Srdjan Djokovic standing with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin after his son’s win over Russian player Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

A fan could be seen holding a Russian flag with a picture of Putin on it and wearing a T-shirt with the letter “Z”. which has become a pro-Russian symbol since the invasion of Ukraine. Srdjan Djokovic replied “Zivjeli Russiyani”, translated in the video as “Long live the Russians”, before walking away.

Video Shows Novak Djokovic’s Father With Pro-Russian Fans At Australian Open

In his statement, Srdjan, who is Serb, said he had taken photos with the fans “as I have done after all my son’s games. He had no intention of getting caught up in this.

“My family has lived through the horror of war and we only want peace,” he added.

Novak Djokovic addressed the controversy after defeating Paul, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to Sunday’s final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

“Well, yes, I saw, as everyone else saw, what happened [Wednesday]Djokovic said. “It was unfortunate that the misinterpretation of what happened [Wednesday] has escalated to such a high level. There were, he would say, a lot of conversations with the tournament director, with the media and everyone else. It has affected me too, of course. I didn’t realize until last night. So, of course, I was not pleased to see that.”

Djokovic echoed his father’s statement that his family does not support the war, that Srdjan was meeting fans as he usually does after his son’s matches and that his presence was misinterpreted.

“My father, as he said in the statement, has been going after every match to meet my fans in the main square here at the Australian Open, to thank them for the support, be with them, show them respect and take photos.” Djokovic said. “The photo he took was passing through. I heard what he said on the video. He said: ‘Cheers’. Unfortunately, some of the media have interpreted it in a really wrong way. I’m sorry that has escalated so much. But I hope people understand that there was absolutely no intention to support any kind of war initiative or anything like that.”

Although flags are normally allowed during Australian Open matches at Melbourne Park, Tennis Australia Russian and Belarusian flags prohibited on the second day of this year’s tournaments after a Russian flag was displayed courtside during a women’s first-round match last week between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Tennis Australia later said that the flags would be banned to avoid “disruption”.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have only been allowed to compete in the Australian Open and other tennis tournaments as “neutral” players, with no reference to their countries or flags, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine which Belarus supported. At other sporting events, including Wimbledon and the men’s soccer world cupthey were completely prohibited from participating.

“Throughout the event, we have spoken to players and their teams about the importance of not engaging in any activity that causes distress or disruption,” Tennis Australia said in a statement on Friday.

Noting Srdjan Djokovic’s decision not to attend Friday’s match, the body said it “will continue to strive for the safety of fans at the event,” repeating that the Russian and Belarusian flags were prohibited. “Tennis Australia supports the call for peace and an end to war and violent conflict in Ukraine.”

Michael Miller in New South Wales, Australia, and Liz Clarke in Washington contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *