Djokovic’s father misses the Australian Open semi-final after controversy over the Russian flag
Novak Djokovic’s father has determined to stroll away from the 21-time Grand Slam semi-final after he was concerned in a flap amongst spectators who introduced banned Russian flags to Melbourne Park, the Australian Tennis Company reported Friday.
“I’m right here solely to assist my son. I had no intention of inflicting such headlines or turmoil,” Serjan Djokovic mentioned in a press release after the photographs led to calls to ban him from the match.
“My household lived by way of the horror of conflict, and we solely want for peace,” he mentioned.
Serjan Djokovic didn’t say whether or not he would attend the Grand Slam last on Sunday if his son gained Friday’s match.
A video posted to a pro-Russian Australian YouTube account on Thursday confirmed Djokovic’s father standing with a person holding a Russian flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on it.
The caption on the video reads: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes daring political statements.”
And Agence France-Presse took an image of one other man contained in the stadium through the Djokovic match, sporting a shirt bearing the Russian pro-war image “Z”.
Serjan Djokovic mentioned he was outdoors together with his son’s followers “as I do in spite of everything my son’s matches to rejoice his victories and take photos with them”.
“I had no intention of falling into this.”
And the daddy of the nice tennis participant mentioned that he determined to look at on TV with a view to keep away from “disturbing” his son or his American semi-final opponent Tommy Ball.
“I hope for an awesome recreation and I’ll assist my son as at all times,” he mentioned.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Miroshnichenko, has known as for Serjan Djokovic’s accreditation to be withdrawn.
In an interview with AFP, Miroshenko additionally known as on Djokovic to apologize personally and make clear his place on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He demanded that we must always apologize for what occurred, and condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who misplaced within the ladies’s doubles semi-final, mentioned the conduct was hurtful however declined to touch upon whether or not Djokovic’s father can be banned.
“It doesn’t matter what I say, I shall be hated for the remainder of my life, particularly by Novak’s very aggressive followers,” she instructed reporters.
Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia final yr for refusing to be vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19 – an issue that overshadowed the beginning of the match.
Miroshnichenko mentioned it was “extraordinarily disgusting” that the participant’s response to the current controversy would as soon as once more distract from what was taking place on the sector.
“The final Open was about Djokovic,” he mentioned. “Now it is all concerning the Russian flags and Djokovic as nicely.”
Former Ukrainian participant Alex Dolgopolov mentioned on Twitter that the open assist for what he known as a “genocidal regime” was “disgusting”.
Myroshnychenko was instrumental in convincing Australian Open organizers to ban the Russian and Belarusian flags from this yr’s Grand Slam.
Russia’s embassy in Australia responded to the ban, calling it “one other instance of the unacceptable politicization of sport”.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese mentioned he “did not need to see any assist for a Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
The match’s organizers, Tennis Australia, mentioned on Thursday it might proceed to work with safety to implement entry guidelines.
“Following the occasions of Wednesday evening, we moved shortly to work with the police and our safety groups to take away the instigators of the protest from the scene,” it mentioned in a press release.
“In the course of the occasion we spoke with the gamers and their groups concerning the significance of not partaking in any exercise that causes misery or misery.”
Because the Russian invasion of Ukraine final yr, Russian and Belarusian gamers have sometimes competed underneath a impartial white flag as independents, as within the Australian Open.