Novak Djokovic launches passionate defense of ‘abused’ father


“We know how devastating this is for the family; for people in every country who are going through the war.”

Djokovic said Srdjan, who had mutually agreed to stay away from Friday night’s semi-final but is likely to return for the final, has the same post-match routine of meeting with fans and thanking them for their support.

“The picture he took [with the activists]; he was passing through. I heard what he said in the video. He said: “Cheers”. Unfortunately, some media have completely misinterpreted this.

“I’m sorry it escalated like this, but I hope people understand that there was absolutely no intention of supporting any war initiatives or anything like that.

“There were many Serbian flags. He thought so. He thought he was taking photos with someone from Serbia. That’s it. He went on.

“Obviously I’m not comfortable going through this with all the things I had to deal with last year [with his deportation over his vaccination status]and this year in Australia.

“It’s not something I want or need. I hope people allow it and we can focus on tennis.”

Djokovic also made it clear that he did not blame his father for the situation he found himself in or the subsequent global media coverage ahead of his semi-final match.

“What happened to him can happen to a lot of people,” he said. “He was passing through, took a photo, it escalated. He was abused in this situation by this group of people. That’s what happened.


“I can’t be mad at him or upset because I can say it wasn’t his fault. He went out to celebrate with my fans and that was it.

“After that, of course, he felt bad about me and he knew how that would affect me [with] all the media pressure and everything that has happened in the last 24, 48 hours. But it is what it is. You accept it and move on.”

Djokovic hoped Srdjan would join his mother Dijana and the rest of his team in his player box for the final.

“We’ll see. It wasn’t nice not having him in the box. It’s a decision we made together,” he said.

“I hope to have him. I hope he’s fine to be on the courts because I’d love to have him for the final.”

Djokovic will look to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and return to world No. 1 when he takes on Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday night’s men’s final.

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Ryan Sederquist

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