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Djokovic Defends Dad, Hopes He Will Be in Box for AO Final

Novak Djokovic defended his father in the wake of controversial images and video of Srdjan Djokovic appearing alongside fans waving Russian flags at the Australian Open.

After his straight-sets semifinal win over Tommy Paul to reach his 10th Australian Open final, Djokovic said the controversy was a "misrepresentation" of what happened with his father.

More: Tsitsipas Into First Australian Open Final

The 35-year-old Serbian superstar says he and has family support peace and oppose war.

"My father, my whole family, and myself, have been through several wars during '90," Novak Djokovic said. "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."

Controversy erupted after Srdjan Djokovic was photographed in images with fans waving the Russian flag with President Vladimir Putin's face on the flag.


Former world No. 1 Djokovic said his father often goes to meet his fans after matches, thank them for their support and take photos with them.

"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," Novak Djokovic said. "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."

Former Ukrainian pro Alexandr Dolgopolov, who has returned to his native Ukraine to help defend the nation from Russia's invasion, tweeted Tennis Australia's statement and urged officials not to permit accredited individuals from promoting "flags, symbols of war or evil people."

"Hopefully all is done for this not to repeat @TennisAustralia," Dolgopolov tweeted. "All accredited people should be responsible and not promote flags,symbols of war or evil people. We in 🇺🇦 fight not for this decay to spread to beautiful country’s we love and admire their values and freedoms 🇦🇺🇺🇦 "

In a follow-up tweet, Dolgopolov suggested Djokovic urge fans not to promote the Russian flag or symbols.

When Djokovic plays for his 22nd Grand Slam title against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's AO final he hopes his father will be in his box.

"Yeah, I hope to have him [in the box]," Djokovic said. "I hope he's going to be feeling okay to be in the courts because I would like to have him there for the finals."

Photo credit: Novak Djokovic Instagram