Novak Djokovic’s dad may be banned for Australian Open final

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic’s dad could be banned from the Australian Open final on Sunday following his controversial interaction with pro-Vladimir Putin Russians. Djokovic is aiming to move level with Rafael Nadal at the top of the all-time Grand Slam standings by winning his 22nd major when he takes on Greek ace Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

Last week, footage emerged that showed Djokovic’s father Srdjan congregating outside the Rod Laver Arena with pro-Russian demonstrators following his son’s quarter-final victory over Andrey Rublev. Srdjan appeared with a group who were parading the Russian flag as well as the banned military pro-war ‘Z’ symbol.

He later insisted he was inadvertently caught up in the protests and chose not to attend his son’s semi-final against Tommy Paul as he said: “I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption. I had no intention of being caught up in this. My family has lived through the horror of war, and we wish only for peace.”

Ahead of the final, Tennis Australia chief and tournament director Craig Tiley has refused to rule out a ban for Djokovic Snr. “I couldn’t give you a definitive answer now,” Tiley told News Corp. “We’re in a different situation, and [on Sunday] night, whether or not that has an impact on it or not. I think the decision not to be there on Friday night [for the semi-final] was on the fact that there was a lot of intensity around that action.

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“He was very clear that he had absolutely no intent for this to happen. And that there was no purposeful position to do it. The family were devastated that it came across that way, and particularly Novak because he is focused on winning.”

Djokovic lifted his first Australian Open trophy back in 2008 after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. And the Serbian has gone on to taste success Down Under on a further eight occasions. The 35-year-old has been in scintillating form in Melbourne this time around and secured his place in the final after overcoming American Paul 7-5 6-1 6-2 in their last four showdown.

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Ahead of the weekend, Djokovic insisted that the “misrepresentation” of his father had been “unfortunate” and that he had been “misused” by Russian supporters.

And when asked whether a decision had been made on his father being back in his box for the showpiece event, the player said: “Let’s see. Of course it wasn’t, again, pleasant not to have him in the box. It’s a decision that we made together. Just didn’t know how things will play out, I guess. Yeah, I hope to have him [there for the final]. 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.”

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