Novak Djokovic’s father poses with a Russian flag emblazoned with Putin’s face as a supporter shouts: ‘Long live Russia!’ in shocking footage from the Australian Open
Novak Djokovic’s father has been warned about his future behavior after he caused outrage at the Australian Open by posing with a Russian flag which featured Vladimir Putin’s face.
Tournament officials were forced to issue a statement after a video emerged on a pro-Russian YouTube channel showing the reckless actions of the Serbian star’s controversial relative.
Shortly after Djokovic reached the semi-finals on Thursday night, his father mingled with fans declaring their support for Russia, with police and Tennis Australia confirming four spectators had been kicked out of Melbourne Park.
Novak Djokovic’s father Srdan is seen in pictures with a Russian flag at the Australian Open
Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic (left) with his father Srdan. After watching his son’s quarter-final win at the Australian Open, he was seen posing with a Russian flag depicting Vladimir Putin’s face.
Australian Open entry regulations expressly prohibit any flag supporting Russia or Belarus.
A video posted on YouTube shows Srdan posing next to the flag and a supporter shouting “Long live Russia!”.
Djokovic Senior is warmly welcomed by his son’s fans and he seems to say something positive before moving on.
Srdan was particularly outspoken last year when his son was deported after being detained for failing to be vaccinated, accusing the Australian state of attempting to “murder” his superstar offspring.
The player himself has been desperately trying to avoid controversy since arriving in Australia to focus on his title efforts as he prepares to meet American Tommy Paul in the semi-finals on Friday.
Unknowingly or not, on Wednesday he could be seen signing something for a man who previously wore a “Z” t-shirt – Z having become the makeshift logo of the Russian invaders of Ukraine.
An Australian Open fan was seen wearing Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol
This has led to an embarrassed Tennis Australia issuing a general warning at a tournament where players from the aggressor nations are still present.
“A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards after a game on Wednesday night and were ejected,” it read.
“A boss is now helping the police with unrelated matters. Players and their teams have been informed and reminded of the event’s policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any potentially disruptive situation.
“We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies,” the statement read.
Srdan Djokovic and his wife Dijana watch Novak during his quarter-final win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday
Entirely separately on a pure tennis level, there has been speculation about the severity of a hamstring injury he suffered while progressing through the tournament.
A faction of Serbian fans in Melbourne Park were keen to demonstrate their kinship with Russia, despite the massive human cost of the Ukrainian invasion on both sides.
A group of fans chanted “Russia, Serbia” to recall the close cultural ties between the two countries
Attempts to stop them from publicly showing their support for Putin in tennis were not successful, judging by Wednesday night.
Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko expressed disgust at their behavior today.
“It’s a complete package. Among the Serbian flags there is a Russian flag, Putin, symbol Z, called the Donetsk People’s Republic flag. It’s such a shame,’ he told the Herald Sun.