Footage has emerged showing Novak Djokovic’s father at a pro-Russian demonstration at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
A group gathered on the steps outside Rod Laver Arena following Djokovic’s quarter-final victory over Russian Andrey Rublev holding Russian flags, one of which bore the face of Vladimir Putin, and chanting “Serbia, Russia”.
And a post on a pro-Russian YouTube channel shows Srdjan Djokovic standing with a man holding the Putin flag and wearing a T-shirt with the pro-war Z symbol on it.
Just took a walk around Melbourne Park after filing and a group of people were standing on the Rod Laver Arena steps, holding up a flag with Vladimir Putin’s face and chanting in support of Russia. pic.twitter.com/2p0LfkyVC3
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 25, 2023
Djokovic Sr then makes a comment to the man, which is translated on the video as “long live the Russians”.
Tennis Australia said on Wednesday that four people had been questioned by police and evicted from the site over “inappropriate flags and symbols” and threatening security guards.
A new statement on Thursday said one of the quartet was “now assisting police with unrelated matters” and added that players and their teams have been reminded of tournament policy.
Absolutely disgusting 🤮
Politics should be kept out of sports they said. These people have absolutely no business in being on tennis tournaments, including @DjokerNole father, if they openly praise a genocidal regime👎🏻Z🇷🇺❌@atptour @AustralianOpen https://t.co/qq44uO7qFO
— Alex Dolgopolov (@TheDolgo) January 26, 2023
Russian and Belarusian flags were banned for the remainder of the event last week after a flag was displayed at a match between Russian and Ukrainian players.
The statement read: “Players and their teams have been briefed and reminded of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that has the potential to disrupt. We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
Djokovic’s representatives have been approached for comment.