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Australian Open - Novak Djokovic defends father after reaching the final: "Are against the war"


After reaching the final at the Australian Open, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic had to justify his father's pictures with pro-Russian fans: The situation escalated because of a "misinterpretation".

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic


Asanka Brendon Ratnayake / AP

Novak Djoković looked at the empty seat in his box while celebrating the final, and so the Serbian tennis star sent an emotional message to his absent father at the hotel.

"I know that it wouldn't be possible without my family and my team," Djokovic said in the winner's interview at the Rod Laver Arena: "It's just as much your success as it is mine.

You are with me in good times and bad.”

And in this bad moment for Srdjan Djoković, who preferred not to visit the stadium at the Australian Open on Friday because of an incident with a pro-Russian group of spectators, his son stood by him.

Even if the topic disturbed his preparation for the 7: 5, 6: 1, 6: 2 semi-final victory against the American Tommy Paul - and maybe also his final in the record mission on Sunday (9.30 a.m. CET / Eurosport) could accompany against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"Of course it's not comfortable for me," said Djoković, also with a view to the entry fuss due to a missing corona vaccination a year ago: "It's not something I want or need." But the Serb defended his father vehemently: The situation escalated because of a "misinterpretation", his father was "abused by the people".

"I can't be angry with him for that." The 21-time Grand Slam tournament winner made it clear: "We are against the war." His father, his family and himself "went through several wars during the 1990s".

A video on the Internet after Djoković's quarter-final victory against the Russian Andrei Rubljow caused a stir.

It showed the tennis star's father posing behind a Russian flag with a portrait of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at Melbourne Park.

Next to him is a man wearing a T-shirt with the "Z" sign, which is considered a symbol of support for Russia, including the invasion of Ukraine.

Srdjan Djoković regretted the uproar in a statement, saying he only wanted to take photos with his son's fans.

Djokovic said he would "like to have his father back" in his 33rd Grand Slam final.

Only Tsitsipas can stop him on his record mission.

The 24-year-old Greek made his second Grand Slam final perfect with a 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 4, 6: 7 (6: 8), 6: 3 victory against the Russian Karen Khachanov.


Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2023-01-27

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