Novak Djokovic Receives Warning After Father Takes Picture With Putin Supporters
Tennis star Novak Djokovic received a warning from Tennis Australia Thursday after his father was seen taking photos with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The tennis authority advised the Djokovic family, which is Serbian, to refrain from promoting political causes.
#Novak Djokovic’s Father Filmed with Fans Holding Pro-Russia Flags at Australian Open
The Melbourne Age newspaper reported he said in Serbian: “Long live Russia.”
— Russian Market (@runews) January 26, 2023
The video of Srdjan Djokovic, Novak’s father, was reportedly captured and posted shortly after his son’s resounding quarterfinal victory over Andrey Rublev. The father was caught holding a Russian flag alongside an individual wearing a shirt bearing the letter “Z.” The symbol has appeared on Russian military vehicles during the country’s conflict with Ukraine and has become an emblem indicating support for the Putin regime. He can also be heard saying something that reportedly translates to “Long live the Russians.”
Beyond the court, where has dominated thus far, Djokovic has had a turbulent time at the 2023 Australian Open. The Serbian star faced a whirlwind of questions upon arriving, as his vaccine status barred him from competing in the tournament in 2022. Controversies off the court have provided a stark contrast to his five nearly flawless matches in the tournament itself.
Though his father’s thoughts on the war in Ukraine are less well known and clearly sympathizes with Russians to some extent, Djokovic has addressed the issue several times publicly since it began. He reportedly reached out to Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky to offer support when the conflict first began. He also criticized Wimbledon for barring Russian and Belarusian competitors from last year’s tournament.
Barring some extraordinary event in which another political stance is taken, it is unlikely that the warning Djokovic and his father received will impact his standing in the tournament. Djokovic entered as a heavy favorite on the hard court in Melbourne and has maintained that status in the initial stages. He has won the Australian Open nine times since 2008, making it his most successful event.
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