A new controversy revolves around Novak Djokovic in Australia. This time, however, it was not the Serbian tennis player himself who sparked the controversy, but his father, who posed in the open of that country together with fans with pro-Russian symbology. In particular, it was a flag of that country with the face of President Vladimir Putin.
The scene was allegedly taped after the quarterfinal match in which Djokovic beat Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. During that match pro-Moscow symbols were seen in the stands, which the organizers of the Major specifically forbade.
In the video posted on YouTube and taken up by various Australian media, it can be seen Srdjan Djokovic posing next to a man holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it and a black T-shirt with the letter ‘Z’, which has become a symbol of support for the invasion of Ukraine.
According to local newspapers The age Y The Sydney Morning Heraldthe tennis player’s father says in Serbian in the video “long live russia“.
Faced with this fact, the Australian Tennis Federation released an official statement on Thursday: “The players and their teams have been informed and reminded of the event’s policy in relation to flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that may disturb” .
Although last week’s Australian Open banned the symbolism on its facilities after Russian flags appeared during a first-round match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova, a small group of people broke the rule and this Wednesday “displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards”.
For his part, the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, said it was “a pity”. “It’s the whole package. Among the Serbian flags are: a Russian flag, Putin, the Z symbol, the flag of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. Too bad…” he wrote on Twitter.
Since Moscow’s war against Ukraine, tennis players from Russia and even Belarus, which supported the invasion, have been competing under a neutral flag, as they do at the Melbourne Grand Slam.
In the 2022, Djokovic had been expelled from Australia, and was unable to play the first Grand Slam of that year, due to his staunch refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Serb arrived in that country on an online managed visa and a medical exemption to circumvent the entry restrictions for unvaccinated foreigners in place at the time. But the medical document exempted him from the tournament’s obligation to be vaccinated, but did not authorize him to enter the country.
Australian Open: Russian and Belarusian flags banned
The Australian tennis federation banned the Russian and Belarusian flags at stadiums hosting the Australian Open on Tuesday 17 January, after a protest by the Ukrainian ambassador, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, who saw the symbols of those countries in the stands on the day he opened the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the season.
“The flags of Russia and Belarus are banned within the Australian Open,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.
Furthermore, he indicated: “Our initial policy was that fans could bring them, but they could not use them to disturb. Yesterday we had an accident where a Russian flag was posted next to the runway”.
“The ban takes effect immediately. We will continue to work with players and fans to ensure the best possible environment to enjoy tennis.”
With information from AFP.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.