Srdjan Djokovic will not attend the semifinal of the Australian Open in which his son Novak is engaged against the American Tommy Paul. The father of the Serbian champion announced it a few hours before the start of the match. The decision not to attend the match follows the controversy that arose after the man was filmed in the company of some fans waving pro-Russian banners. “My family has experienced the horror of war and we wish only for peace,” Srdjan Djokovic said, adding, “I had no intention of causing such headlines or turmoil. I’ll watch the match from home.” The decision was taken following a request from the Ukrainian ambassador and a tennis player of the same nationality – who said she was “shocked by the behavior of Djokovic’s father – (in a video she was taken next to Russian fans who showed the face of Putin).
Djokovic’s father celebrates with pro-Russian fans at the Australian Open and says: “Long live Russia!”
The father of the Serbian tennis star was caught on camera a few days ago waving pro-Russian flags with fans at the Australian Open. The Ukrainian ambassador in Canberra called the scene “shameful”. Following Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final victory over Russia’s Andrey Rublev, a group of fans unfurled Russian flags, including one with the face of President Vladimir Putin, near Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, chanting pro-Russian slogans. The Australian Tennis Federation itself has announced that four people “displayed flags and inappropriate symbols and threatened the security guards” at Melbourne Park before being chased away by police.
A video later posted on a pro-Russian Australian YouTube channel showed Srdjan Djokovic, the player’s father, posing with the man holding the flag with Putin’s face. The caption of the video read: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes courageous political statement.”