Novak Djokovic mentioned his father, Srdjan, had “no intention” of supporting any type of “conflict initiatives” after being filmed with a gaggle of Russian supporters on the Australian Open.
Djokovic reached his 10th Australian Open remaining on Friday after defeating American Tommy Paul in straight units. Forward of the match, event organizers mentioned that they had “briefed and reminded” gamers and their entourages concerning the event’s “coverage relating to flags and symbols.”
On Wednesday, video emerged of Djokovic’s father with a gaggle of supporters holding the Russian flag and displaying the “Z” image, which is seen as an indication of help for Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.
The image has been seen on Russian tools and clothes in Ukraine.
Srdjan Djokovic mentioned he wouldn’t be within the stands to observe his son’s semifinal, including that he was in Melbourne “to help my son solely” and “had no intention of inflicting such headlines or disruption.”
After his victory in opposition to Paul on Friday, Djokovic mentioned: “My father, my entire household, and myself, have been by means of a number of wars throughout the ’90s.
“As my father put in a press release, we’re in opposition to the conflict, we by no means will help any violence or any conflict. We all know how devastating that’s for the household, for folks in any nation that’s going by means of the conflict.”
As a baby rising up in Belgrade, Djokovic lived by means of NATO’s 78-day bombing marketing campaign in 1999, which was meant to finish atrocities dedicated by troops of Yugoslavia’s then-president Slobodan Milošević in opposition to ethnic Albanians within the province of Kosovo.
Djokovic added that his father, as has been the case all through the Australian Open, had gone to satisfy with followers, a lot of whom have been displaying Serbian flags, to thank them for his or her help after his Australian Open quarterfinal.
“The picture that he made, he was passing by means of,” mentioned Djokovic. “I heard what he mentioned within the video. He mentioned, ‘Cheers.’ Sadly, a few of the media has interpreted that in a extremely improper means.
“I’m sorry that that has escalated a lot. However I hope folks perceive that there was completely no intention by any means to help any type of conflict initiatives or something like that.
“My father … He thought he was making a photograph with anyone from Serbia. That’s it. He moved on.”
Requested if his father could be again within the stadium for Sunday’s remaining in opposition to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic mentioned he would wait and see.
“In fact, it wasn’t, once more, nice to not have him within the field [on Friday],” he mentioned. “It’s a choice that we made collectively. Simply didn’t know the way issues will play out, I assume.
“I hope to have him. I hope he’s going to be feeling okay to be within the courts as a result of I want to have him there for the finals.”
The presence of Russian flags and symbols on the Australian Open has been a supply of controversy all through the event.
Within the first week, organizers banned spectators from displaying Russian and Belarusian flags, and on Wednesday, they mentioned 4 folks had been ejected from Melbourne Park for displaying pro-war imagery.
A number of Ukrainians, together with present participant Marta Kostyuk and former participant Alexandr Dolgopolov, have spoken out in opposition to the presence of Russian flags and “Z” symbols on the event.
On the court docket, Djokovic has been in excellent kind over the previous two weeks and is the robust favourite to defeat Tsitsipas within the males’s singles remaining.
If he does, he would win his 10th Australian Open title and 22nd grand slam crown, tying him with Rafael Nadal on the high of the lads’s all-time record.