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Novak Djokovic concedes his father’s incident with pro-Russian protesters after his Australian Open quarter-final impacted him during Friday night’s semi-final, and denied he and his family supported their cause.The nine-time champion explained Srdjan Djokovic was “misused” by the fans, who breached tournament rules by showing Russian flags and wearing the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol associated with support of the invasion of Ukraine, when he posed for photos and a video with them.Instead Srdjan had just been “passing through” and greeting fans as he has done throughout the tournament, according to Novak, who claimed his father had been mistranslated – that he said “cheers” not “long live the Russians”.Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >It is unclear how Srdjan did not see the large amount of Russian paraphernalia being worn by the man next to him in the video which was uploaded to a pro-Russia YouTube account, as Novak claimed was the case.Both Djokovics said they were against war having lived through several, particularly while Novak was growing up during the 1990s in the Balkans.Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan (left) with Russian fans including a man holding a flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on it.Source: Supplied“It was unfortunate that the misinterpretation of what happened yesterday has escalated to such a high level. There was, I would say, a lot of conversations with tournament director, with media and everyone else,” Novak said.“It has got to me, of course, as well. I was not aware of it till last night. Then, of course, I was not pleased to see that.“My father, my whole family, and myself, have been through several wars during ‘90s. As my father put in a statement, we are against the war, we never will support any violence or any war. We know how devastating that is for the family, for people in any country that is going through the war.“That’s the first thing I want to say.“The second thing I want to say, my father, as he said in the statement, has been going after every single match to meet with my fans at the main square here in Australian Open, to thank them for the support, to be with them, pay them respect, and make photos.“The photo that he made, he was passing through. I heard what he said in the video. He said, Cheers. Unfortunately some of the media has interpreted that in a really wrong way.“I’m sorry that that has escalated so much. But I hope people understand that there was absolutely no intention whatsoever to support any kind of war initiatives or anything like that.“My father, as I said, was passing through. There was a lot of Serbian flags around. That’s what he thought. He thought he was making photo with somebody from Serbia. That’s it. He moved on.”Police on alert as Serbian fans celebrate Novak Djokovic’s semi-final win. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty ImagesHowever Djokovic became frustrated when asked again about the incident, and whether he spoke to his father about keeping his reputation in mind.“You’re basically asking me a question like he did it intentionally, like he’s not being careful about what he’s doing. It can happen. It can happen to many people what happened to him,” he said.“He was passing through, made a photo, it has escalated. He was misused in this situation by this group of people. That’s what happened.“I can’t be angry with him or upset because I can say it was not his fault. He went out to celebrate with my fans, and that’s it. That’s all that happened.“After that, of course he felt bad because of me and he knew how that’s going to reflect on me, the whole media pressure and everything that has happened in the last 24 hours, 48 hours. But it is what it is. You accept it and you move on.”Srdjan released a statement on Friday afternoon saying he would not be at the semi-final and while he did not specifically condemn the pro-Putin protesters – nor did Novak – he spoke broadly against war.“I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption,” he said.“I was outside with Novak’s fans as I have done after all of my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them.“I had no intention of being caught up in this.“My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace. So there is no disruption to tonight’s semi-final for my son or for the other player, I have chosen to watch from home.“I wish for a great match and I will be cheering for my son, as always.”Novak did not confirm whether Srdjan would be in his players’ box at the final though the fact Srdjan has not left Australia would suggest it is likely he will be.Novak Djokovic signs autographs after his victory against Tommy Paul in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP)Source: AFPTennis Australia also released a statement on Friday.“After the events of Wednesday night, we acted swiftly to work police and our security teams to have the instigators of the protest removed from the venue,” it reads.“Throughout the event we’ve spoken with players and their teams about the importance of not engaging in any activity that causes distress or disruption.“Mr Srdjan Djokovic has issued a statement confirming that he will not attend tonight’s semifinal.“We will continue to strive for the safety of fans at the event and reiterate our position banning flags from Belarus and Russia.“Tennis Australia stands with the call for peace and an end to war and violent conflict in Ukraine.”Both Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas will have strong fan support during Sunday’s final, both inside Rod Laver Arena and around the Melbourne Park grounds, thanks to Melbourne’s strong multiculturalism.Serbian fans are a fixture of the tournament thanks to Djokovic’s success and Tsitsipas’ Greek support will be stronger than ever after he qualified for the final for the first time, after three previous semi-final losses.Djokovic does not believe there will be issues between the two nationalistic support groups based on the nations’ shared histories and hopes they will be there “for tennis and for sport”.“I’m really excited and privileged to be in that finals against Tsitsipas,” he said.“You mentioned communities, Serbian and Greek communities, are big, for sure. The Serbs and Greeks historically get along very well. I just don’t think there’s going to be any conflict on and off the court in terms of the crowd.“In contrary, I think I’m confident that people will support their respective players in a respectful way, and let’s see what happens.”

#Djokovics #admission #dad #misused #proRussia #protesters

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