Novak Djokovic's Father, Srdjan, Will Not Attend AO Semi-Finals
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 280
As the semi-finals of the Australian Open commence, tensions have risen after a video surfaced of Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan, posing with fans waving Russian and pro-Russian flags. The incident has sparked a backlash from the public, with Ukrainian Ambassador Vasil Myroshnychenko calling the scenes "a shame." Despite the controversy, tournament director Craig Tiley has decided against imposing any sanctions on Srdjan Djokovic.
The video, which has circulated on social media, shows Srdjan Djokovic posing with a man holding a flag with Russian President Vladimir Putin's face, while a group of fans nearby display Russian flags and shout pro-Russian slogans.
Serbian journalists have confirmed that it is indeed Djokovic's father in the footage. The Melbourne Age newspaper also reported that Srdjan Djokovic was heard saying in Serbian, "Long live Russia."
Srdjan Djokovic issued the following statement:
"I was outside with Novak’s fans as I have done after all of my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them.
I had no intention of being caught up in this. My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace. 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." Despite Srdjan Djokovic's apology, Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko has called for tournament organizers to take action. In an interview with the Herald Sun, he stated, "It's up to Tennis Australia to take action.
I think it would be a very good idea not to let him in. This whole Australian Open tournament since the beginning was a controversy, around the participation of the Russian players, then the flags, now we've seen this provocation." Tennis Australia had released their own statement, reported by Telegraph, confirming it, and adding that “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”. As for the semi-final match itself, Novak Djokovic will face American Tommy Paul (35th ATP) at 9:30 am today. It is Paul's debut in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament.