Novak Djokovic’s father poses at the Australian Open, holding the Russian flag alongside Vladimir Putin’s supporters amid the Ukraine war
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’s father posed with a Russian nationalist holding a flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on a Day of Shame at the Australian Open.
Shortly after watching his son progress to the semifinals with a set win over Russia’s Andrey Rublev, Srdjan Djokovic was greeted by fans as he exited the Rod Laver Arena.
Players from Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete in tennis tournaments under a neutral flag, but national symbols are banned due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022.
A three-minute, 44-second YouTube video has now surfaced claiming that Srdjan, the father of the nine-time Australian Open champion, made a “bold political statement”.
In the clip, posted by a user who goes by the name Aussie Cossack, a bearded, ponytailed man proudly holds the Russian flag with an image of the despised despot before shouting, “To our brothers in Moscow.”
As he walks away, Srdjan seems to be saying, “Long live the Russians!”
The same fan – wearing a t-shirt with the controversial pro-Putin Z symbol – is later seen on the steps of the main court at Melbourne Park.
The clip shows him and a group of fans chanting “Russia, Russia, Russia,” “Glory to Russia,” and “For the brother of the Russian Empire.”
They also chanted “Putin, we love you” before security guards stepped in.
“Aussie Cossack” Simeon Boikov is a pro-Putin Australian YouTuber who has sought refuge at the Russian consulate in Sydney since last month.
CASINO SPECIAL – BEST ONLINE CASINOS FOR 2023
He was charged in court on Wednesday with assaulting a 76-year-old man at a rally in support of Ukraine.
Those late Wednesday night scenes had already been condemned as “shameful” by a top Canberra-based diplomat.
Vasyl Myroshnychenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand, tweeted: “It’s a complete package.
“Among the Serbian flags there are: a Russian flag, Putin, Z symbol, so-called flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It’s such a shame.”
During the game – which Djokovic won comfortably 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 – a fan was photographed in the stands with the Z logo on the front of his black t-shirt.
Former Ukrainian pro Alex Dolgopolov, who is now fighting the war in his homeland, saw this photo and tweeted: “This guy will be banned for life, at least for all Australian events right? @AustralianOpen.”
Responding to video of the group of Russian fans on Wednesday night, a Tennis Australia spokesman said: “Four people in the crowd exiting the stadium unveiled inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security forces.
“Victoria Police have intervened and continue to question her.
“Everyone’s comfort and safety is our priority and we are working closely with security and authorities.”
Victoria Police later added: “Police spoke to four men after a Russian flag was placed on the steps of the tennis court at around 10.20pm on Wednesday 25 January. All four men were expelled.”
It has been just 12 months since Djokovic – who has not been vaccinated against Covid – flew out of Australia following an immigration row.
Srdjan told a press conference in Belgrade after his son’s deportation from Melbourne in January 2022: “The attempt to assassinate the best athlete in the world is over.
“50 bullets in Novak’s chest.”
This isn’t the first time the Russian tricolor has been seen at the first slam of 2023, although it’s considered a prohibited item by security personnel.
When Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl won the first round in three sets against Kamilla Rakhimova from Russia on Court 14, a single player held up the controversial flag.
Another was unfolded on day two in the evening clash at the Rod Laver Arena between Moscow’s Daniil Medvedev and American Marcos Giron.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7229955/novak-djokovic-dad-russia-putin/ Novak Djokovic’s father poses at the Australian Open, holding the Russian flag alongside Vladimir Putin’s supporters amid the Ukraine war