scandal in Melbourne
Tennis fans celebrate Djokovic with a Putin flag
Drunk Russians in the stadium mocking tennis ace Djokovic – and then fans celebrating their hero with a likeness of Kremlin boss Putin. Russia’s war in Ukraine has reached the Australian Open.
Published: 01/26/2023 at 02:00
Updated: 01/26/2023 at 12:30 p.m
Fans celebrate after Novak Djokovic’s victory over Russia’s Andrei Rublev – with a likeness of Russian war president Vladimir Putin.
When he defeated the Russian Andrei Rublev at the Australian Open, tennis star Novak Djokovic was so annoyed by individual fans in the audience that he asked the referee several times to intervene. Fans were drunk and insulted and provoked him, the Serb told journalists after the three-set win in the quarterfinals.
But not only that. After the game, several spectators were interrogated by the police. “Four people in the crowd exiting the stadium displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security personnel,” the organizers said in a statement.
Those temporarily arrested waved Russian flags, which are prohibited in the stadium. The organizers have banned fans from bringing the Russian and Belarusian flags to the Australian Open – which the Russian embassy in Canberra condemned as “another example of the unacceptable politicization of sport”.
Papa Djokovic in the middle?
Despite the ban on flags in the stadium, there was a scandal on the sidelines of the game between the Serbs and the Russians: After the game, spectators were also seen in front of the stadium waving Russian and Serbian flags and chanting “Serbia, Russia”. At least one man held a flag with the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin (70) in his hand. It is unclear whether the police interrogated any of this group.
Spicy: Apparently Djokovic’s dad was right in the middle. As Australian media consistently report, Srdjan Djokovic is said to have been filmed after his son’s game with fans displaying the pro-Russian symbols.
The tournament organizer continued: “The players and their teams have been made aware of the rules regarding flags and symbols and have been reminded to avoid any situation that could lead to disruption. We continue to work closely with security and law enforcement agencies.”
Even during the heated game, a fan in a T-shirt with a white “Z” showed up in the stands. The symbol is seen as a sign of military support for Russia and also endorses Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. (kes)
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