Djokovic’s father did not play in the Australian Open semi-finals after he met some pro-Russia fans. In a statement released on Friday, Srdjan Djokovic, Novak’s father, stated that he would not be attending his son’s Australian Open semifinal match against Tommy Paul because he did not want to create a “disruption” to the event.
Outside Rod Laver Arena after Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal victory over fellow Russian Andrey Rublev on Wednesday evening, Srdjan Djokovic was captured on camera posing with a group of Putin supporters.
On Thursday, Srdjan Djokovic appeared in a video uploaded to YouTube, standing next to a man waving a Russian flag with Putin’s face and wearing a T-shirt bearing the “Z” symbol, which has come to represent support for the conflict in Ukraine.
“I make this trip because of my love for my son. I intended to avoid making such a splash or causing so much trouble. “Before the Melbourne Park semifinals, Srdjan Djokovic made the following comment. “As I have done after every one of my son’s matches, I was outside with Novak’s fans, celebrating and taking selfies with them. No, I didn’t mean to get involved.
My loved ones and I have seen the horrors of war firsthand, and now all we want is peace.
Therefore, I will stay home to watch tonight’s semi-final match so neither my kid nor the other player will be distracted. As always, I hope the game goes well for my son, and I will cheer for him.”
Djokovic won the match against Paul in straight sets ( 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 ) and will now compete for his 10th Australian Open championship Sunday. In the final, he will meet No. 5 in the world, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In the aftermath, Djokovic defended his dad, claiming he had “absolutely no intention whatsoever to encourage any sort of war activities or anything like that” and expressing regret that the situation “escalated that far.” He said that his father’s attendance at the final on Sunday was uncertain.
Australia’s Tennis Association initially permitted flags of Russia and Belarus into Melbourne Park. Still, it modified this policy on Day 2 of the event, banning all flags and attire bearing the Russian Eagle or “Z” emblem.
The individual in the video was one of four people investigated by Victoria Police for violating these guidelines during Djokovic’s quarterfinal match against Rublev.
Tennis Australia commented on the matter on Friday, saying, “Throughout the event, we’ve spoken with players and their teams about the significance of avoiding engaging in any behavior that causes pain or disruption.”
The organization also stated that it would “continue to work for the safety of spectators during the event” and “reiterate its position banning flags from Belarus and Russia.” Tennis Australia has publicly supported calls to end hostilities in Ukraine.