The Australian Open told CNN it had “briefed and reminded” players and their supporters about the tournament’s “flag and symbol policy” on Thursday after video of Novak Djokovic’s father, Shrodjan, was released on Wednesday showing fans holding Russian flags in a demonstration, his tribute to Russia. expressed support.
In a video posted on YouTube by a well-known Vladimir Putin supporter, the father of the Serbian player can be seen posing with a fan outside Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. The man wears the “Z” symbol on his shirt, which features a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it. “Long live Russia,” he said.
The “Z” symbol is seen as a sign of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The symbol has appeared on Russian equipment and clothing in Ukraine.
“Players and their teams have been informed of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and have been reminded of any situation that could potentially cause disruption,” an Australian Open spokesperson told CNN on Thursday.
“We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
“After a match on Wednesday night a small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards and were ejected,” an Australian Open spokesman said. A patron is now assisting police in an unrelated matter.”
In a statement on Friday that addressed criticism of his actions but stopped short of an apology, Srijan Djokovic said he was in Melbourne “only to support my son,” and had “no intention of causing such headlines or disruption.”
“I was out with Novak’s fans as I do after all my son’s matches to celebrate his win and take pictures with them. I had no intention of getting caught up in it,” he said.
“My family has lived through the horrors of war and we only wish for peace.”
He added that he will watch his son’s semi-final match against US star Tommy Paul from home on Friday “so there is no disruption for my son or any other player.”
Novak Djokovic would not comment on the situation, his management told CNN.
Earlier on Friday, Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia urged the player to state his position on the fight, saying the incident with his father was a “provocation” and “shines a negative light on Novak himself as he prepares for the semifinals.”
“I think it’s important for him to make a strong statement about where he stands in this fight to dispel speculation, and I want to apologize to Novak Djokovic,” Ukraine’s ambassador Vasyl Myroshnichenko told CNN.
“Of course, the son cannot be responsible for the sins of his father, but he can have the same likeness as his father. I think the world should know where he stands.”
Tennis Australia confirmed on Wednesday that the four had been kicked out of the tournament for displaying pro-war imagery.
Australian Open rules prohibit Russian and Belarusian flags at the event.
Tennis Australia has a “neutral flag” policy and has reaffirmed that policy amid Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.