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Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan watches Australian Open semi-final remotely after appearing with Putin supporters | World News

Novak Djokovic’s father watched his son’s Australian Open semi-finals remotely after he was filmed with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Srdjan Djokovic said he stays away from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne so as not to create “a disruption for my son or another player”.

“I decided to watch from home,” he said in a statement.

The tennis star’s mother, Diana, was in the stands for her son’s last four matches against American rival Tommy Paul, whom he beat in straight sets.

Her husband claims that he unwittingly became involved in a pro-Russian demonstration.

Footage posted on YouTube shows him standing next to a man holding flag depicting Vladimir Putin.

The bearded man was wearing a T-shirt with the military symbol Z.

Srdjan Djokovic (left) was photographed with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening Photo: Australian Cossack
Srdjan Djokovic (left) with Russian supporters. In the photo: Australian Cossack

But Srdjan Djokovic said he was at the tennis Grand Slam to “support only my son.”

He commented, “It was not my intention to cause such headlines or disruption.

“I was on the street with Novak fans, as I did after all my son’s matches, to celebrate his victories and take pictures with them. I had no intention of participating in this.

“My family has survived the horror of war, and we only want peace.

“Therefore, today’s semi-final will not be disturbed either for my son or for another player that I decided to watch from home.

“I wish you a great match and, as always, I will root for my son.”

A fan waves the flag of Vladimir Putin at the Australian Open.  Photo: Australian Cossack
A man with Vladimir Putin’s flag at the Australian Open. In the photo: Australian Cossack

The video shows that the protesters were allowed to stay on the steps for several minutes – the situation was criticized by Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk.

“It hurts a lot because there were certain rules that were printed out from the outside,” she said.

“It’s not impossible, but you can’t fly flags and so on. It’s a shame they’ve been there for quite some time.

“They were on the court, in the stands too. It hurts a lot and I don’t understand how this is possible.”

Tennis Australia said: “Following the events on Wednesday night, we acted quickly to work with the police and our security forces to remove the protesters from the venue.

“Throughout the event, we’ve been talking to players and their teams about the importance of refraining from any activity that causes stress or disruption.”

He reaffirmed his position on the ban on the flags of Russia and Belarus and stated that he was calling for an end to the war in Ukraine.

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