Novak Djokovic: Ukraine demands Australian Open ban for dad for posing with Russian Putin fans
Outrage after Novak Djokovic’s father posed with fans wearing Putin’s “Z” symbol and allegedly said “long live the Russians” in Serbian as Ukraine calls for a ban
- Ambassador of Ukraine called for a ban on Srdjan Djokovic
- He joined flag-waving pro-Putin Russian fans at the Australian Open.
- Tournament favorite’s father warned about his behavior
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia demanded that Novak Djokovic’s father be banned from the Australian Open after he posed for pictures with fans waving Russian flags, which are banned from the tournament.
In the video, Srdjan Djokovic poses with fans waving Russian flags depicting President Vladimir Putin on the steps of the Rod Laver Arena.
He was standing next to one fan wearing a T-shirt with the Z-symbol of the Russian military and seems to be telling him in Serbian: “Long live the Russians.”
The star’s father was warned about his behavior by Tennis Australia bosses, but Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasily Miroshnichenko, demanded that he be banned from the Open and called the incident “such a shame.”
Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan appeared in footage with the Russian flag at the Australian Open.
Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic (left) with his father Srjan. After watching his son’s quarter-final victory at the Australian Open, he was seen posing with a Russian flag bearing the face of Vladimir Putin.
He wants Djokovic’s father kicked out of the tournament and at least out of the player’s box with an apology from his grand slam legend son.
“Tennis Australia needs to take action,” he told the Herald Sun. “It would be very good not to let him in.”
“I don’t know why he would say something like that, given what the Russians are doing in Ukraine, how many people they have killed, tortured, raped and all the summary executions that have taken place against civilians.”
He said allowing Djokovic’s father to sit in the box of a high-profile player in the semi-final against Tommy Paul on Friday night would send the wrong signal to the world.
The call for a ban was supported by Stefan Romaniv, co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations.
“Tennis Australia needs to show that he is strong and principled, deprive him of his accreditation and force him to leave,” he said.
“Tennis Australia has evicted others who violated the ban. Why is there a difference?
A video revealing the controversial moment appeared on a pro-Russian YouTube channel.
A fan at the Australian Open was seen wearing Russia’s ultra-nationalist military symbol “Z”.
Shortly after the Serbian star reached the semi-finals on Thursday night, his father mingled with the fans, declaring his support for Russia. Serbia and Russia are longtime geopolitical and military allies.
Police and the Australian Tennis Service later confirmed that four spectators had been evicted from Melbourne Park.
The rules for participation in the Australian Open forbid any flags in support of Russia or Belarus due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, while Ukrainian players are allowed to play under their national flag.
A video posted on YouTube shows Srdjan posing next to the flag as a sympathizer shouts “Long live Russia!”
Srjan is shown warmly greeted by his son’s fans, and then he appears to say something encouraging before moving on.
Srdjan was outspoken last year when his son was not allowed to play in the Australian Open and was deported from the country for not having a Covid vaccine.
He accused Australia of trying to “murder” his superstar son.
The player himself has been trying to avoid controversy since arriving in Australia to focus on his title efforts.
On Wednesday, he could be seen signing an autograph for a man who was previously seen wearing a Z-logo T-shirt used by Russian forces in Ukraine.
Srdjan Djokovic and his wife Diana watch Novak during his quarter-final victory over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.
A group of fans chanted “Russia, Serbia”, recalling the close cultural ties between the two countries.
“A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards after Wednesday night’s match and were evicted,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.
“One patron is now helping the police with unrelated matters. The players and their teams were briefed and reminded of the rules of the event regarding flags and symbols, and that any situation that could disrupt the flow of events should be avoided.
“We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement.”