‘It hurts’: Novak Djokovic saddened by father’s absence in Australian Open final
The Serbian superstar and his team decided it was best that Srdjan Djokovic not be on the pitch at Rod Laver Arena following a Russian flag controversy that threatened to overshadow Djokovic’s campaign for a 10th Australian Open title.
Srdjan Djokovic therefore watched from outside the stadium as his son beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets 6-3 7-6 7-6.
A seat next to Djokovic’s mother, usually occupied by Srdjan, was empty as Djokovic won a record 22nd Grand Slam title.
“We both agreed it would probably be better if he wasn’t here,” Djokovic said after winning a 10th Australian Open title.
“It hurts him and me a lot, because these are special and unique moments that don’t know if they are repeated.
“It wasn’t easy for him. I saw him after the game and he wasn’t feeling his best, let’s say.
“He was happy to hug me, but I could see he was a little sad.”
“In the end, we have a happy ending,” added Djokovic, 35.
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Djokovic said his father told him he didn’t want to be a distraction in the Australian Open final, despite being allowed by tournament director Craig Tiley to take a seat in the stands .
“I think at the end of the day what he told me was that it’s important that I feel good on the pitch, that I win the game and that he’s there for me” , Djokovic said.
“If it’s going to be better for me after the game so that he’s not in the box, then so be it.
That was the whole conversation. In a way, I’m also sad that he wasn’t there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the tournament, so that’s fine.
Srdjan also decided to miss the semi-finals after facing appeals, led by Ukraine, to be banned from the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.
A video posted Thursday on a pro-Russian YouTube account showed him posing with a man holding a Russian flag with President Vladimir Putin’s face on it.
The video was captioned: “Novak Djokovic’s father makes bold political statement.”
Djokovic later defended his father, saying there had been a “misinterpretation” of the footage and no harm was intended.
“It is unfortunate that the misinterpretation of what happened yesterday has reached such a high level,” he said.
“As my father said in a statement – we are against war – we will never support any violence or any war.
“We know how devastating it is for the family, for the people, in any family going through war.
“He was walking by and taking a picture. It’s not his fault he went out to celebrate with my fans.
“I heard what he said in the video: he said ‘cheers’.
“He was abused.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, had called for Srdjan Djokovic to be stripped of his stadium pass.
– With AFP
[gpt’It hurts’: Novak Djokovic saddened by father’s absence in Australian Open final