Australian Open 2023: Video of Novak Djokovic’s father Srdan with pro-Russian Vladimir Putin

Shortly after police expelled a group of men who had raised a flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on it, Novak Djokovic’s father posed with Russian nationalists at the Australian Open.

Djokovic had just secured his place in the semi-finals of the tournament with a straight-set win over Andrey Rublev as he was chasing a 10th title in Melbourne.

A video posted to YouTube late Wednesday night shows Srdan posing with the man holding the Putin flag and wearing a T-shirt with the Z symbol, a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The audio of the video reportedly suggests Djokovic Sr saying “zivejli Russiyani” as he walks away, an apparent sign of support for the Russian fight.

“Zivejli” is a Serbo-Croatian word meaning “cheers”, while “Russiyani” refers to Russians.

The YouTube channel translates the words as “long live Russia.”

News Corp has reached out to Tennis Australia for comment.

Police on Wednesday night evicted the group of men who appeared to have flouted Tennis Australia’s ban on Russian flags by smuggling them past security under the guise of similarly colored Serbian flags surrounding them.

Ahead of Djokovic’s quarter-finals on Wednesday night, Simeon Boikov, who runs the YouTube channel where the footage was posted, had urged all Russian fans to “strike back” at Tennis Australia over their ban on Russian emblems. .

“Today Djokovic plays Andrey Rublev. I hereby appeal or direct all to go there. I can confirm that we have some surprises,” said Boikov.

“Tennis Australia get ready…for fans, for people who love tennis, if you know what I mean. I have to put it this way or they’ll get me for incitement. We’ve got a lot of serious fans in Melbourne going downstairs.”

He added: “This is about honor and dignity now. 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 flag of the Russian Empire has been banned. Guess what Tennis Australia? Good luck if the Empire strikes back.”

The Ambassador of Ukraine in Australia called the display of the Russian flag and the blatant violation of the rules a “shame”.

“It’s a complete package,” Vasyl Myroshnychenko said on Thursday.

“Among the Serbian flags there is a Russian flag, Putin, Z symbol, the so-called flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

“It’s such a shame.”

A vision has also surfaced of a fan at Rod Laver Arena wearing a t-shirt with the Z symbol during Djokovic’s duel with Rublev.

Former Ukrainian pro Alex Dolgopolov, who is currently fighting the war, tweeted: “This guy is going to be banned for life at least from all Australian events right? @AustralianOpen”.

Originally posted as Australian Open 2023: Novak Djokovic’s father Srdan video surfaced with pro-Russians Australian Open 2023: Video of Novak Djokovic’s father Srdan with pro-Russian Vladimir Putin

Ryan Sederquist

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