Novak Djokovic’s father will NOT be at Melbourne Park to support his son in Australian Open semi-final after video emerged showing support for Russia
- Srdjan Djokovic came under fire for fraternising with pro-Russia protestors
- He withdrew himself from the Australian Open semi-final to be played tonight
- Djokovic is trying to reach the final against unheralded American Tommy Paul
Novak Djokovic’s father has pulled out of attending tonight’s Australian Open semi-final in the wake of his controversial interaction with Vladimir Putin supporters on Wednesday.
Srdjan Djokovic released a statement saying that he would be staying away from Melbourne Park, where his son is heavy favourite to defeat American Tommy Paul in the second match of the last four.
Amid rowdy scenes following the quarter final, Djokovic Sr. was captured on video fraternising with fringe elements of spectators, alongside a man in a ‘Z’ T-shirt [denoting support for Russian armed forces] and behind a flag with Putin’s face on it.
The parents of Novak Djokovic of Serbia, father Srdjan and mother Dijana react during his post match speech following his win over Andrey Rublev of Russia
However, he maintained that he was merely wishing to thank Novak’s fans for their unstinting support.
‘I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption,’ he said.
‘I was outside with Novak’s fans as I have done after all my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them. I had no intention of being caught up with this.
‘My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace.
Djokovic will go into his Australian Open semi-final against American Tommy Paul without his father in the stands
‘So there is no disruption to tonight’s semi-final for my son or for the other player I have chosen to watch from home. I wish for a great match and I will be cheering for my son, as always.’
The original incident was captured on a video posted by a pro-Russian activist, showing Australian Open rules being defied with visual and audible shows of support for Russia.
Tennis Australia subsequently issued a warning to players and their associates that they should not engage in behaviour that stokes controversy.
They added to the statement, saying: ‘After the events of Wednesday night, we acted swiftly to work with police and our security teams to have the instigators of the protest removed from the venue.
‘Throughout the event we’ve spoken with players and their teams about the importance of not engaging in any activity that causes distress or disruption.
‘Mr Srdjan Djokovic has issued a statement confirming that he will not attend tonight’s semifinal. We will continue to strive for the safety of fans at the event and reiterate our position banning flags from Belarus and Russia.
‘Tennis Australia stands with the call for peace and an end to war and violent conflict in Ukraine.’
A spokesperson for Novak Djokovic said that he would not be commenting on the incident.
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