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MELBOURNE, 27 Jan. (DPA/EP) –
The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasil Miroshnichenko, has asked the organization of the Australian Open to ban tennis player Novak Djokovic’s father after he was seen with fans carrying Russian flags.
For Miroshnichenko, the images broadcast in a video are “unacceptable” and “a disgrace for the tournament”, which is why he has requested a veto for Srdjan Djokovic, the tennis player’s father, according to what he told the Australian channel ABC.
Djokovic’s father, for his part, has claimed that he inadvertently became involved in a pro-Russian demonstration at the Australian Open, which is why he decided not to attend his son’s semifinal against Tommy Paul.
A video surfaced on a Russian activist’s YouTube channel on Thursday showing Srdjan Djokovic standing with a man holding a Russian flag with the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin on it and wearing a T-shirt with the Z symbol showing support for the war in Ukraine.
In a statement issued by the representatives of the tennis star, Djokovic’s father assured that he had attended the Autralia Open only to support his son. “I had no intention of causing such headlines or interruptions,” Srdjan Djokovic said, according to the DPA agency.
“I was outside with the fans of Novak as I have done after all my son’s games to celebrate his victories and take pictures with them. I had no intention of getting caught up in this,” he said, adding that his family has lived “the horror of war” and who only wants peace.
“I wish a great game and I will be cheering on my son, as always,” he added.