Father of Novak Djokovic makes it fur and poses with Putin supporters at Australian Open: “Long live the Russians!”

The father of Novak Djokovic (ATP 5) was seen with supporters with pro-Russian flags at the Australian Open on Wednesday after his son’s quarterfinal against Russian Andrey Rublev (ATP 6). A group of fans unfurled banners near the Rod Laver Arena that included the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They also chanted pro-Russian slogans.

Vincent Van Genechten

On Wednesday evening, local police had to intervene when four Russians broke up in Melbourne Park. The men sang pro-Russian songs on the steps of the Rod Laver Arena, holding Russian flags. The foursome was quickly and skillfully removed.

But before that, Papa Djokovic had mingled with Russian tennis fans. The Serb willingly posed for a photo with some of them, including one with the infamous ‘Z symbol’ on his shirt. Djokovic is also said to have shouted “zivjeli Russiyani”, or: “Long live the Russians”.

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Tennis Australia imposed a ban on Russian flags following an incident in the match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Youtuber Simeon Boikov then called on people to go to competitions with Russian flags as much as possible, to “hit back” at the organization. He was also there for the ‘meeting’ with Djokovic Senior.

“A small group of people displayed unauthorized flags and symbols,” Tennis Australia said in a statement. “They also threatened security personnel after a Wednesday night game and were evicted from Melbourne Park. Players and their entourage have been reminded of the flags and symbols policy to avoid such situations.”

The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia described the scenes as “shameful”.


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