The father of Serbian Novak Djokovic was filmed with supporters waving pro-Russian flags during the Australian Open tennis, scenes described as "shameful" by the Ukrainian ambassador in Canberra.
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After Novak Djokovic's quarter-final match against Russia's Andrey Rublev on Wednesday night, a group of supporters unfurled Russian flags, including one with the face of President Vladimir Putin, near the Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, while chanting pro-Russian slogans.
The Australian Tennis Federation said four people "displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards" at Melbourne Park before being chased away by police.
A video later posted on an Australian pro-Russian YouTube channel showed Srdjan Djokovic, the player's father, posing with the man waving the flag with Putin's face.
All with the caption: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes a bold political statement”.
Serbian sports journalists have confirmed that it was indeed Djokovic-father.
The Melbourne Age newspaper also indicated that he launched, in Serbian: “long life to Russia”.
Spectators are banned from Russian or Belarusian flags during the tournament.
Ukraine's Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, had demanded action be taken after several of these flags were seen in crowds last week.
“It's a complete catalog.
Among the Serbian flags there are: a Russian flag, Putin, the symbol Z, the so-called flag of the Donetsk People's Republic,” he tweeted Thursday with a link to the video.
"It's really shameful," he said indignantly to the Australian Federation and the organizers of the Open.
Another spectator was photographed by AFP inside the stadium during Djokovic's match wearing a T-shirt bearing the 'Z' symbol, a pro-war symbol associated with support for the
Since the beginning of the conflict, Russian and Belarusian tennis players generally participate in competitions under a neutral flag and as independents.