Novak Djokovic: Dad’s Russia controversy was ‘not pleasant’ but a ‘misinterpretation’

Novak Djokovic: Dad's Russia controversy was 'not pleasant' but a 'misinterpretation'


Srdjan Djokovic watched his son’s 7-5 6-1 6-2 win over American Tommy Paul at home to avoid causing “disruption”.On Wednesday he was pictured at the tournament with supporters of Russian president Vladimir Putin.


Novak Djokovic: Dad's Russia controversy was 'not pleasant' but a 'misinterpretation'

“He [my dad] had no intention to support any kind of war initiative,” said Djokovic.”It’s unfortunate the misinterpretation of what happened escalated.”Djokovic’s father was photographed with the Putin supporters after his son’s quarter-final win over Russia’s Andrey Rublev.




Djokovic said his father was walking through a gathering of the player’s fans outside Rod Laver Arena and had been “misused” by the Russian fans before quickly continuing past.”There was a lot of Serbian flags around. That’s what he thought. He thought he was making a photo with somebody from Serbia. That’s it. He moved on,” said Djokovic.



However, the nine-time Australian Open champion conceded the row had “got to” him in the lead-up to his semi-final at Melbourne Park.



Djokovic also courted controversy last year when he was stopped from defending his title after being deported following a row over his coronavirus vaccination status.



“I was not pleased to see that,” said Djokovic, who will earn a record-equalling 22nd major men’s title if he beat Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.”Of course, it’s not pleasant for me to go through this with all the things that I had to deal with last year and this year in Australia. It’s not something that I want or need.

“I hope that people will let it be, and we can focus on tennis.”

What happened to get to this point?
Russian and Belarusian flags and symbols have been banned at the Australian Open since a Russian flag was displayed during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova on the opening day.

But Russian flags – including one with Putin’s face on it – were seen at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

Four spectators were later questioned by police after the flags were waved and security guards were allegedly threatened.The video of Srdjan Djokovic with the fans emerged on Thursday.

“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 said.”I had no intention of being caught up in this.

“My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace.”Before Srdjan Djokovic confirmed he would not be attending the semi-final, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reiterated the country’s stance on pro-Russian protests.

“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,” Albanese said at a news conference on Friday.

“We do not want to see any support given to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”Tennis Australia said in a statement it “stands with the call for peace and an end to war and violent conflict in Ukraine”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here