Srdjan Djokovic, the father of Serbian tennis star Novak, skipped attending his son’s Australian Open tennis semi-final match today in Melbourne, not to arouse tension after the controversy of his appearance next to fans carrying a Russian flag with the image of President Vladimir Putin. “I am here only to support my son,” he wrote in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Agence France-Presse, in response to the controversy in recent hours.
The father of the former world number one continued, “I had no intention of making headlines or causing any confusion, so that there would be no confusion during the semi-finals for my son or his opponent. I preferred to watch the match from home.” A video clip posted on a pro-Russian Australian account on YouTube showed Srdjan Djokovic outside the stadium with a man carrying a Russian flag with a picture of President Vladimir Putin in the center. He commented on the video, “Novak Djokovic’s father makes bold political statements.”
The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Miroshnichenko, called on Novak Djokovic, who will meet American Tommy Paul in the semi-finals of the Australian Championship, to apologize personally and clarify his position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “It is important that Novak handles this situation. He should apologize for what happened and condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said.
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