The Australian Open told CNN it had «informed and reminded» players and those around them of the tournament’s «flags and symbols policy» on Thursday after a video of Novak’s father emerged on Wednesday. Djokovic, Srdjan, pictured at a protest with fans holding Russian flags, expressing support for Russia.
In a video posted on YouTube by a known Vladimir Putin supporter, Srdjan Djokovic can be seen posing with a fan outside the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. The man wears the ‘Z’ symbol on his shirt, while holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it. «Long live Russia,» he said.
The «Z» symbol is considered a sign of support for Russia, including its invasion of Ukraine. The symbol has been seen on Russian equipment and clothing in Ukraine.
CNN has reached out to Novak and Srdjan Djokovic for comment.
«Players and their teams have been informed and reminded of the event’s policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any potentially disruptive situation,» an Australian Open spokesperson told CNN on Thursday. .
«We continue to work closely with event security agencies and law enforcement.»
The Australian Open spokesperson went on to say «a small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards after a game on Wednesday night and were kicked out. A boss is now helping the police with unrelated questions.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia on Friday urged the tennis star to speak out on his stance on the war, saying the incident was a ‘provocation’ and ‘spots light on Novak himself as he prepares for his semi final».
«I think to dispel speculation, it’s important to make a very strong statement about his position in this war, and I would like to see an apology from Novak Djokovic,» Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko told CNN.
«Of course, the son can’t be responsible for his father’s sins, but maybe he has the same opinion as his father. I think the world should know where he stands.
Tennis Australia has confirmed four people were kicked out of the tournament on Wednesday for posting pro-war images.
Under Australian Open rules, Russian and Belarusian flags are banned from the event.
Tennis Australia has a ‘neutral flag’ policy and has reaffirmed its policy amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.