war in Ukraine
Outrage at Australian Open: Djokovic’ father cheers with Putin supporters
At the Australian Open, spectators wore the infamous Z, signaling support for Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. Novak Djokovic’s father was filmed with Putin supporters.
Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s father has revealed himself as a Putin supporter. In a video first released on YouTube, Srdjan Djokovic can be seen posing with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The clip was taken at Melbourne Park, allegedly after his son’s win over Russia’s Andrei Rublev in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The people Father Djokovic poses with carry a Russian flag with Putin’s portrait on it. One wears a T-shirt with the “Z” sign on it, which stands for the Ukraine war and for its support.
The appearance of the Russian war supporters was not without consequences. After the game, the Australian police questioned four spectators. They are said to have not only shown “inappropriate flags and symbols”, but also threatened security personnel, the organizer said. Other Twitter posts show supporters in the stands waving Russian and Serbian flags after the game, as well as “Serbia! Russia!” shouted.
Flags and symbols “with potential for interference” are undesirable
“Players and their teams have been briefed on the event guidelines regarding flags and symbols and have been reminded to avoid any situation that has the potential for disruption,” Tennis Australia said in a statement on Thursday. Ukraine also reacted. Vasyl Miroshnychenko, the country’s ambassador to Australia, tweeted: “It’s such a shame.”
Unlike Wimbledon, Russian and Belarusian tennis players are allowed to start under a neutral flag in Melbourne. Aryna Sabalenka and Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus will compete in their semi-final matches on Thursday. Jelena Rybakina, who was born in Moscow but now plays for Kazakhstan, is also in the semi-finals. For men, Russian Karen Khachanov will meet Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of the top four players on Friday.