Novak Djokovic's father has expressed regret over the incident involving a pro-Russian crowd during the Australian Open and decided against attending his son's semi-final match.
"I'm here to support my son. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption," said Srdjan Djokovic, according to a statement for media outlets including Australian newspaper The Age.
"So that tonight's semi-final is not disturbed for my son or the other player, I decided to watch it at home," said the father of the Serbian tennis star, who played in the duel against the American Tommy Paul (9.30 a.m.CET/ Eurosport) wants to make the final perfect.
The day before, a video of Srdjan Djokovic posing with others behind a Russian flag with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Melbourne Park caused a stir on the internet. Next to him is a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the "Z" sign, believed to be a symbol of support for Russia, including the invasion of Ukraine. The video was published on a YouTube channel and is said to have been taken after Djokovic's quarter-final win over Russia's Andrei Rublev on Wednesday.
"I had no intention of getting involved in this," Srdjan Djokovic said of the incident. He just wanted to celebrate with the fans and take pictures. He stressed that he would "only wish for peace" since his family had also experienced "the horrors of war".
After the incident, the organizers of the Australian Open once again warned the players and their teams that certain flags and symbols should be banned. But there were also voices calling for a tournament ban for Srdjan Djokovic.