The father of the former world number one was not in attendance for the final amidst the flag controversy.

Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open 2023 by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a gruelling final at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. It was his 10th win at this particular Grand Slam. By winning this year’s edition of the tournament, Djokovic extends his record as the all-time leading men’s player with the most Australian Open wins in the Open Era. He is also tied on 22 Grand Slams along with contemporary Rafael Nadal.

However, a particular individual was missing from World No.4’s player’s box during the final. Srdjan Djokovic, Novak Djokovic’s father, was not present courtside in the box with the rest of the family members and coaching staff. Reports have suggested that Novak’s father’s absence was related to visuals that have surfaced on the internet that saw Srdjan posing with a Russian flag.

The controversy

Srdjana Djokovic did not accompany Novak Djokovic’s mother Dijana at the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. He lost the chance to see his son win an unprecedented 10th Australian Open title. He was not in attendance at the semi-final as well, after multiple calls for his ban emerged, led by Ukraine, which is involved in a war with neighbouring country Russia.

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Vasyl Myroshnychenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, called for a ban on Srdjana Djokovic and the stripping of his accreditation. Incidentally, this was in response to a video posted on the internet that depicted Novak’s father holding a Russian flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on it. 

During an interaction with the press, Novak Djokovic clarified that his father had no intention of supporting any sort of war initiative and that this incident had affected him. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has devastated the country and has led to the loss of life on both sides. 

Despite the controversy revolving around his run-up to the final, Novak Djokovic was able to hold his nerve and secure the championship win. He won the final against Tsitsipas in straight sets by a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) score.

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