Djokovic’s father releases statement after being seen with pro-Putin, pro-Russia fans

Despite pro-Russian symbols being banned at the Australian Open, some were spotted on Wednesday

Novak Djokovic Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 25, 2023 The parents of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, Srdjan and Dijana Djokovic are pictured in the stands alongside his managers Elena Cappellaro and Edoardo Artaldi, his brother Marko Djokovic and his coach Goran Ivanisevic during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan has released a statement to respond to criticism after being seen on camera with fans waving pro-Russian flags after his son’s quarter-final win at the Australian Open.

“I am here to support my son only,” Djokovic father said in a statement, per “I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption.”

“My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace”

Djokovic said in the statement that he has been celebrating with fans of his son after matches.

“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,” he wrote. “I had no intention of being caught up in this.”

The father of the nine-time champion says he intends to watch Friday’s semi-final on television.

“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,” he wrote.

Criticism over Russian flags, which have been banned from Melbourne Park

Djokovic junior beat Russia’s Andrey Rublev, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 – and shortly afterwards a group of people were spotted with Russian flags, including one emblazoned with the face of President Vladimir Putin, near Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, while chanting pro-Russian slogans.

Security officials in Melbourne have been instructed not to permit the display of Russian or Belarusian flags, with players from those countries playing under no flag at all.

According to news reports, a video later posted on an Australian pro-Russian YouTube channel showed Srdjan Djokovic with the flag-waving attendees, along with a caption: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes a bold political statement”. The Age newspaper also reports that pro-Russia comments in the Serbian language can be heard.

In March 2022, Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky made public an exchange of text messages with Novak Djokovic, in which the Serb offered to send aid to his country, including financial assistance.

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