Novak Djokovic’s father has gotten into yet one more controversy within the Australian Open. On Thursday (January 26), a video emerged the place the 62-year outdated Srdjan Djokovic was seen posing with demonstrators outdoors the Rod Laver Enviornment who have been holding Russian flags and voicing their help for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
His actions have been met with robust criticism and outrage. “He must be stripped of his accreditation.” Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, informed AFP.
In an announcement earlier as we speak, Srdjan Djokovic stopped wanting an apology, saying that he was in Melbourne “to help my son solely,” and “had no intention of inflicting such headlines or disruption.” He added that he is not going to be attending Novak’s semi-final against US upstart Tommy Paul.
What the video exhibits
The video on the centre of this controversy was posted on YouTube by a identified Russian Putin supporter, Simeon Boikov, reported CNN. In it, Srdjan Djokovic was seen posing with a fan sporting a “Z” image t-shirt and brandishing a Russian flag with Putin’s face prominently on it. He additionally seems to be saying “zivjeli Russiyani” or “lengthy reside Russian residents” earlier than he leaves, reported The Guardian. The video was captioned: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes daring political assertion.”
The latin letter “Z” is a pro-war Russian symbol, seen on a lot of Russia’s tanks and different automobiles throughout its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It has develop into an indication of help for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been consequently banned by a number of nations.
The person Djokovic seems with additionally sports activities the brand of the Russian bike gang the Night time Wolves on his t-shirt, The Guardian reported. He begins his video message by providing a greeting to the gang’s worldwide president, Alexander Zaldostanov, thought-about a detailed pal of Putin and hit with European sanctions final yr. The Night time Wolves have been lengthy related to Kremlin, and have allegedly additionally acted as paramilitary forces for Putin, with members engaged in preventing in Crimea and Donbas.
The reactions to the video
As anticipated, the video was construed as signifying Srdjan Djokovic’s help for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, drawing widespread condemnation from inside and with out the tennis fraternity.
Retired Ukrainian tennis star, Alexandr Dolgopolov tweeted, calling Djokovic’s actions “completely disgusting” and clamouring for his ban from tennis for “supporting a genocidal regime.”
Completely disgusting 🤮
Politics must be saved out of sports activities they mentioned. These individuals have completely no enterprise in being on tennis tournaments, together with @DjokerNole father, if they freely reward a genocidal regime👎🏻Z🇷🇺❌@atptour @AustralianOpen https://t.co/qq44uO7qFO
— Alex Dolgopolov (@TheDolgo) January 26, 2023
The Ukrainian ambassador to Russia additionally chimed in, calling Srdjan Djokovic’s actions a “shame.”
Within the aftermath, Tennis Australia warned its gamers and their entourages about interacting with members of the general public chanting inappropriate slogans or holding up offensive flags or symbols.
“Gamers and their groups have been briefed and reminded of the occasion coverage concerning flags and symbols and to keep away from any scenario that has the potential to disrupt,” an Australian Open spokesperson informed CNN on Thursday.
Not the primary controversy surrounding the Russian flag on the Australian Open
Notably, this isn’t the primary occasion of Russian supporters publicly brandishing flags and sloganeering in the course of the Australian Open. Throughout a first-round match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova, spectators confirmed up with Russian flags and made incendiary remarks on Ukraine. This prompted Tennis Australia to ban Russian flags together with choose different symbols related to Russia and its invasion to Ukraine.
In truth, yesterday’s mass gathering of Russian supporters the place Srjdan Djokovic was pictured got here on the again of this ban. The professional-Putin demonstrators put up a present of power as Djokovic took on Russian Andrey Rublev within the quarter-final.
“The Russian empire has had its flag banned. Nicely, guess what, Tennis Australia? Good luck when the empire strikes again,” mentioned Simeon Boikov on his channel Australian Cossack, earlier than the sport.
Later, on Wednesday, 4 males have been evicted from Melbourne Park by Victoria police after chanting pro-Russian and pro-Vladimir Putin slogans on the steps of Rod Laver Enviornment whereas brandishing quite a few Russian flags, together with one with the face of Putin on it.
Not Srdjan Djokovic’s first tryst with controversy within the Australian Open
That is additionally not Srdjan Djokovic’s first tryst with controversy within the Australian Open. After Novak’s vaccination fiasco final yr, his father was certainly one of his most outspoken supporters. After Novak was detained after which requested to depart Australia for faking his vaccination standing, his father got here out in help, even comparing his son to Jesus.
“Jesus was crucified on the cross, and every thing was carried out to him, however he’s alive amongst us even now. Now Novak is being crucified, they’re doing every thing to him,” Srdjan had mentioned in 2022.
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