Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, has not attended his sons Australian Open semi-final after he was pictured with supporters who held a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it.
Following Djokovic’s quarter-final win over Russian Andrey Rublev Srdjan was pictured with fans who had the Z on their t shirts, the symbol has been used by Russian forces in Ukraine and by supporters of the war, and held a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it.
Novak has not commented but Srdjan said “I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption. 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.”
The images caused much controversy in Australia with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese saying “That I will make this point, that Australia stands with the people of Ukraine. That is Australia’s position and Australia is unequivocal in our support for the rule of international law. We do not want to see any support given to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that is having a devastating impact on the people of Ukraine.” Some had called for Srdjan to be deported but the Prime Minister did not respond to that question.
Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to compete at the tournament as neutrals so their flags will not be displayed by the tournament organisers and after complaints from Ukrainian officials their flags are banned from all tournament areas.