Novak Djokovic hopes to draw a line under Russian flag controversy

Novak Djokovic's father Srdjan

Novak Djokovic has sought to clarify the position of his family as it relates to the war in Ukraine and wars in general.

Djokovic insists that his family, themselves affected by years of war following the breakup of Yugoslavia, are staunchly against the use of war as a political tool.

He has found himself having to comment after his father was filmed interacting with Russian fans, who caused disruption with a demonstration of sorts at Melbourne Park earlier in the week.

As a result his father said that he would not attend the semi-final.

Addressing the matter, Novak Djokovic said: “I saw, as everybody else saw, what happened yesterday.

“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.

“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.”

Djokovic added further that his father believed that he was standing next to somebody with a Serbian flag.

“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.

“Of course, it’s not pleasant for me to go through this with all the things that I had to deal with last year and this year in Australia. It’s not something that I want or need. I hope that people will let it be, and we can focus on tennis.”

Djokovic hopes that his father will return to his player box for the final.

“Let’s see. Of course, it wasn’t, again, pleasant not to have him in the box. It’s a decision that we made together. Just didn’t know how things will play out, I guess. Yeah, I hope to have him,” he added.

“I hope he’s going to be feeling okay to be in the courts because I would like to have him there for the final.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s father won’t attend semi-final after flag furore – ‘I had no intention of being caught up in this’