Novak Djokovic’s dad could be BANNED from attending Australian Open final following controversial pro-Russian celebrations…as Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley insists Serb’s father had ‘no intention’ to show support for Vladimir Putin
- Novak Djokovic will play Stefanos Tsitsipas in Australian Open final on Sunday
- His father may not be banned after fraternising with pro-Russia protestors
- Srdjan Djokovic insisted he did not want to make a political statement
A late decision will be made over whether to allow Novak Djokovic’s father to attend Sunday’s Australian Open final in the wake of his controversial interaction with Vladimir Putin supporters on Wednesday.
Srdjan Djokovic was filmed with a man wearing a ‘Z’ T-shirt [denoting support for Russian armed forces] and behind a flag sporting the face of the Russian president.
While he maintained that he was merely wishing to thank Novak’s fans for their support, the incident has sparked an uproar with the Ukrainian Ambassador, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, calling for Tennis Australia to prevent Djokovic’s senior to attend the final.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley admitted Novak Djokovic’s father may not be allowed to attend Sunday’s Australian Open final
Speaking to News Corp, Tennis Australia CEO and tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed organisers will make a late call over whether to allow Djokovic’s father in the stands at Rod Laver Arena to watch his son play Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.
‘I couldn’t give you a definitive answer now,’ Tiley said.
‘We’re in a different situation, and [on Sunday] night, whether or not that has an impact on it or not […] I think the decision not to be there on Friday night was on the fact that there was a lot of intensity around that action.
‘He was very clear that he had absolutely no intent for this to happen. And that there was no purposeful position to do it.
Djokovic senior (left) was controversially interacted with Vladimir Putin supporters outside the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday
Djokovic (second left) was seen with a fan holding a Russian flag sporting Putin’s face and donning a T-shirt featuring the Z symbol of the Russian armed forces
‘The family were devastated that it came across that way, and particularly Novak because he as focused on winning.
‘One thing I know about Novak is that sometimes the more distractions he has, sometimes the better he becomes. He’s very good at singling in. But you can only take so much.’
After outclassing Tommy Paul 7-5 6-1 6-2 on Friday to reach his 10th Australian Open final, Djokovic admitted the incident had got to him.
However, he insisted his father had been ‘misused’ by people expressing support for Russia outside Rod Laver Arena.
Tiley insisted Djokovic was ‘devastated’ by the way his father has been portrayed
The Serb insisted he felt his dad had been ‘misused’ by pro-Russian supporters
‘It was unfortunate that the misinterpretation of what happened has escalated to such a high level,’ he said.
‘It has got to me, of course, as well. I was not aware of it until last night. Then I was not pleased to see that.
‘My whole family and myself have been through several wars during the 1990s. As my father put in a statement, we are against the war. We know how devastating it is for people in any country going through war.’
Tiley backed Djokovic, insisting he was certain the star’s father did not intend to make a political statement.
The 35-year-old could win a 10th Australian Open title on Sunday if he beats Stefanos Tsitsipas
‘I know for a fact that there was no intent. I don’t know exactly what was said […] we don’t know what was said, exactly,’ he said.
‘But at the end of the day, I know he was very upset that it came across that way. I know Novak and have known Novak for a long time. He has been outspoken against war.
Ukrainian players were swift to condemn Djokovic senior’s photo.
Former doubles world No 1 Alex Dolgopolov, now fighting in his homeland, posted on social media: ‘Absolutely disgusting. Politics should be kept out of sports they said. These people have absolutely no business in being at tennis tournaments.’
Marta Kostyuk posted angry emojis on her Twitter, while her compatriot Lesia Tsurenko added: ‘No words to say.’
Djokovic’s father was conspicuously absent as his son kept his bid for a 10th Australian Open title alive on Friday.
‘I am here to support my son only,’ he said in a statement.
‘I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption. I was outside with Novak’s fans as I have done after all my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them.
‘I had no intention of being caught up with this.’
On Friday, it also appeared the tennis fan who brandished Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol returned to the Rod Laver Arena in a major security faux pas for tournament organisers.
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