The Australian Open has been involved in a scandal after some images of the father of Novak Djokovic, Srdjanposing next to some fans and the Russian flag with the face of Vladimir Putin after the game between his son and the Russian Andrey Rublev.

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This Friday, the Serbian tennis player’s father defended himself with a statement and wanted to explain the reason behind the controversial photographs: “I am here only to support my son. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disturbances.”

“I was out with Novak’s supporters, as I have been after all my son’s games, to celebrate their victories and take photos with them. I had no intention of getting involved in this. My family has lived through the horror of war and we only wish for peace,” says Srdjan Djokovic in his letter.

In addition, he announced that “so that neither my son nor the other player is affected, I have decided to watch tonight’s game from my home.” This January 27, Novak faces the semifinals of the Australian Open against the American Tommy Paul.

It all happened last Wednesday at the gates of the Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne) after Djokovic’s victory in the quarterfinals against the Russian Andrey Rublev. A video, posted on YouTube, shows Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, posing with a group of men waving Russian flags, which are banned from the Australian Open. According to the local press, in the video the tennis player’s father says in Serbian “long live Russia”. The images provoked numerous criticisms, especially from the Ukrainian government. “It’s a shame. It’s the whole package. Among the Serbian flags there are: a Russian flag, Putin, the Z symbol, the flag of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. It’s a shame,” said Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko.