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Missing detail spotted in Novak Djokovic’s player box at Australian Open final


Just days after appearing in a video alongside pro-Vladimir Putin supporters who were spruiking banned Russian flags, Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has decided not to watch his son’s 10th attempt at an Australian Open crown from his player box.

Srdjan Djokovic was spotted last Wednesday night with the fans, who were carrying Russian flags with the leader of the nation’s face embossed on them.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Novak Djokovic’s dad breaks silence on flag drama.

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Srdjan has not been banned from attending Melbourne Park, but voluntarily opted out of watching his son’s semi-final from inside Rod Laver Arena to avoid disruption from the match against America’s Tommy Paul.

With all eyes on the Serbian’s support crew for Sunday night’s clash, it soon became clear that a seat in the box would again be empty – that of Srdjan.

Djokovic’s father explained his decision to remove himself from the box ahead of his son’s semi-final.

“So there is no disruption to tonight’s semi-final for my son, or for the other player, I have chosen to watch from home,” Srdjan Djokovic said in a statement released by his son’s management team ahead of the semi-final.

“I wish for a great match and I will be cheering for my son, as always.

He also hosed down suggestions he was in support of the current war between Russia and Ukraine.

Srdjan Djokovic was absent from his son’s grand slam final in Melbourne. Credit: Getty

“I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption,” he said.

“I was outside with Novak’s fans, as I have done after all of my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them. I had no intention of being caught up in this. My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace.”

It comes after tournament director Craig Tiley gave Novak Djokovic’s father the green light to attend the final.

Will he or won’t he be back courtside with victory over Tsitsipas had been a huge talking point in the lead-up to Sunday’s night’s title match.

But Tiley revealed Djokovic’s father was free to take his place at Rod Laver Arena after accepting the Serb had inadvertently been swept up in the flags drama.

“It’s his decision. We’re going to let it be his decision and ultimately he’s got to make the call,” Tiley told AAP on Sunday.

“He didn’t breach any event policy. That’s really important because what’s been written about what he (allegedly) said hasn’t been correct and I think people are back-tracking from that.

“That’s unfortunate that massive assumptions were made.”

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Novak Djokovic faces the media to answer questions about his father Srdjan (inset). Credit: Australian Open

Russian flags, the Russian Eagle banner, Belarusian flags, and items of clothing with the Z symbol are prohibited at Melbourne Park amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Tiley said he believed that Djokovic’s father didn’t realise he was posing with people carrying Russian flags.

“I know him personally and his family was devastated by what happened. It was not intentional and I agree with him and it was not designed to cause harm to anyone,” Tiley said.

“It was an unfortunate situation and the Serbian fans have been great. Every day they’ve been very active and noisy and boisterous and that adds to the whole colour of the event.

“Then you’ve got two or three or, in this case, four individuals that ruined it and they got evicted and are not welcome back.

“Ideally he didn’t get caught up in that but, in that moment, you don’t know and that’s unfortunate that that happened because we’re a platform, we’re a global platform, and any little thing like that starts to take on a life of its own, which it didn’t need to.”

Srdjan Djokovic was pictured with pro-Putin fans. Credit: Youtube

Tiley’s green light to Djokovic’s father to return to Melbourne Park comes after the 21-time grand slam champion pleaded with fans to be respectful and not overstep the mark during the final.

Djokovic felt his father was “misused” by pro-Russia fanatics and admitted the escalating saga had taken its toll during his bid for a 10th Open crown.

He hopes fans will behave when he faces Greek cult hero Tstisipas.

“The Serbs and Greeks historically get along very well. I just don’t think there’s going to be any conflict on and off the court in terms of the crowd,” Djokovic said.

“I’m confident that people will support their respective players in a respectful way, and let’s see what happens.

“I hope that all the people who are going to come to the finals are going to be there for tennis and sport because that’s what we all wish for.

“We all wish that players, fans, focus on tennis, celebrate this beautiful sport, marvel at one of the most special matches throughout the year, which is a slam final.”

With AAP

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Source: 7News