Novak Djokovic stated on Friday that he regretted his father’s absence from his box during his semi-final win at the Australian Open. He expressed his “hope” that his father would be present for Sunday’s final.
"It was not pleasant not to have him in the box during the semi-final. I hope he will be there for the final,” said the Serbian player. His father Srdjan decided mid-afternoon not to attend the match to avoid “causing a disturbance” after the Ukrainian ambassador demanded his accreditation be revoked for being photographed with pro-Russian supporters in Melbourne.
Novak insisted that it was all a "misinterpretation" and asserted that his father "went after each of my matches to meet my fans to thank them and take pictures.” He sought to quell growing suspicions that his father supports Putin's invasion of Russia, insisting that there is “no intention to support any war”.
Novak Djokovic explains in detail the misunderstanding surrounding his father.#AusOpen (🎥 AP account) pic.twitter.com/4fTfeSyAZr— TennisONE App (@TennisONEApp) January 27, 2023
The tennis star echoed the words used by his father in the statement explaining that he would not be attending the semi-final: “Our family has been through the horrors of war and all we want is peace,” Srdjan Djokovic had written.
The long-term world number one has recently become a controversial figure, especially in Australia where he was denied access to last year's tournament after refusing to be vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus – a position he maintained despite being discluded from sporting events.