Novak Djokovic’s father seen posing with flagbearing supporters of Vladimir Putin at Australian Open | Tennis
Srdjan Djokovic, the father of Novak Djokovic, has been snapped for photos with Vladimir Putin supporters at the Australian Open on Wednesday night.
Four men were evicted from Melbourne Park by Victoria police on Wednesday night after chanting pro-Russian and pro-Vladimir Putin slogans on the steps of the Rod Laver Arena while waving numerous Russian flags, including one featuring Putin’s face on top.
Before the eviction of the four pro-Kremlin supporters, Srdjan Djokovic met fans outside the Rod Laver Arena and took pictures with an onlooker wearing a “Z” shirt waving a Russian flag with a large image of Putin’s face.
In the video, posted to YouTube by Aussie Cossack, Srdjan Djokovic appears to say “zivjeli Russiyani” or “long live Russian citizens” before leaving. “Zivjeli” means “cheers” in Serbian and Croatian, used during a toast, and Russiyani means citizens of Russia.
Ahead of the match, Simeon Boikov, who runs the Aussie Cossack YouTube channel, called on other pro-Putin supporters to attend the event to “hit back” at Tennis Australia.
It came after TA banned Russian flags at the Australian Open after an incident during the first round match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova, when spectators showed up with Russian flags.
Boikov has been accused of assaulting a 76-year-old man at a rally in Sydney in support of Ukraine, and a warrant was issued for his arrest this week. He is currently seeking refuge in the Russian consulate.
“Today Djokovic plays Andrey Rublev. I hereby call or instruct everyone to go there. I can confirm that we have some surprises,” Boikov said.
“Tennis Australia, buckle up… for fans, for people who love tennis, if you know what I mean. I have to put it that way or they’ll catch me for sedition. We’ve got a lot of serious fans coming up in Melbourne.
“This is now about honor and dignity. This is an attack on honor and dignity. This has nothing to do with the war. This is an attack on freedom in Australia. This is discrimination. This is racism. It is illegal to ban people’s flags.
“The Russian Empire has had its flag banned. Well, guess what, Tennis Australia? Good luck if the Empire strikes back.”
On Thursday, Victoria Police confirmed four men had been evicted from Melbourne Park.
“Police spoke to four men after a Russian flag was hoisted on the steps of the tennis court at around 10:20 pm on Wednesday, January 25. All four men were evicted,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
After releasing the Djokovic photos, Tennis Australia warned players and their teams against interacting with banned flags.
“A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards after a game on Wednesday evening and were evicted. One patron is now assisting police with unrelated matters,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.
“Players and their teams have been briefed and reminded of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that has the potential to disrupt. We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”