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Call for Djokovic's dad to be banned from Australian Open over Russian flag incident

The parents of Serbia's Novak Djokovic, father Srdjan Djokovic (L) and mother Dijana Djokovic, react after he beats Russia's Andrey Rublev in the men's singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2023. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --
The parents of Serbia's Novak Djokovic, father Srdjan Djokovic, left, and Dijana Djokovic, react after he beats Russia's Andrey Rublev in Melbourne on Wednesday night. Photo: AFP / David Gray

Ukraine's ambassador to Australia has called for Novak Djokovic's father to be banned from the Australian Open, after he posed with a group holding the Russian flag.

The incident took place at Melbourne Park on Wednesday night following Novak Djokovic's quarterfinal win over Russian Andrey Rublev.

One of the men in the video was wearing a T-shirt with the symbol "Z" - an emblem representing support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian and Belarusian flags were banned from the tournament after a Russian flag was waved during the opening round.

The YouTube video was posted by a user identified as Simeon Boikov.

NSW Police has confirmed it is seeking Boikov's arrest on an unrelated matter.

Ukrainian ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko said the flag was a symbol of the invasion of Ukraine, and called on Tennis Australia to ban Srdjan Djokovic for the remainder of the tournament.

"It's unacceptable, it's a disgrace for the tournament," he said.

"There must be sanctions imposed."

He said Novak Djokovic needed to clarify his own position.

"It's important to ask Novak Djokovic his opinion on the situation," Myroshnychenko said.

"Is he supporting Putin? Is he supporting war in Ukraine? What does he think about his father's support?"

Novak Djokovic's management was contacted for comment.

In March last year, Novak Djokovic pledged financial support to Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who had joined the fight to protect his country from the Russian invasion.

"Thinking of you … hope all calms down soon," Novak Djokovic said at the time.

"Please let me know what would be the best address to send help. Financial help, any other help as well."

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during the men's singles final tennis match between Denmark's Holger Rune and Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day 7 of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Paris Masters (Paris Bercy) - indoor tennis tournament at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on November 6, 2022. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)
Novak Djokovic has won the Australian Open singles title nine times and is into the semifinals this year. Photo: AFP

In a statement, Tennis Australia did not directly address the incident involving Srdjan Djokovic, but said some spectators were removed from Melbourne Park on Wednesday night.

"A small group of people displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards following a match on Wednesday night and were evicted," the statement read.

"Players and their teams have been briefed and reminded of the event policy regarding flags and symbols and to avoid any situation that has the potential to disrupt.

"We continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies."

Federal Opposition leader Peter Dutton called the incident "bizarre".

"The Russian onslaught continues, and frankly everybody of goodwill should be trying to deter, not encourage, President Putin. So, it's a bizarre act," he told Channel 9.

"It's an issue for Tennis Australia as to how they react."