Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday reiterated Australian support for Ukraine and criticised supporters of Russia’s invasion after a video emerged showing Novak Djokovic’s father posing at the Australian Open with fans holding Russian flags.
Police questioned four fans seen with “inappropriate flags and symbols” after a quarter-final match on Wednesday between Russia’s Andrey Rublev and favourite Djokovic, organisers Tennis Australia said.
“I will make this point, that Australia stands with the people of Ukraine. That is Australia’s position and Australia is unequivocal in our support for the rule of international law,” Albanese told a news conference after a reporter asked if Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, should be deported after he was seen posing for pictures with fans holding Russian flags.
“We do not want to see any support given to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that is having a devastating impact on the people of Ukraine.”
Albanese did not respond directly to the question about whether Srdjan Djokovic should be deported.
Djokovic’s father could not be reached for comment.
A video emerged on social media showed a fan on the steps of Rod Laver Arena holding up a Russian flag with the image of President Vladimir Putin on it.
Photos also showed one fan with a large “Z” on his shirt. Russian forces have used the letter as an identifying symbol on their vehicles in Ukraine following their invasion. Some supporters of the invasion have also used the sign.
Srdjan Djokovic was seen in some posts posing with the Russian supporters.
Australian Open organisers on Thursday issued a reminder to players and their entourages about their policy on flags after the video of Djokovic’s father emerged.
Russian and Belarusian athletes are able to compete as individual athletes without national affiliation at the Australian Open, though their flags are banned from the tournament grounds after a complaint by Ukraine’s ambassador last week.
Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament last year for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and received a three-year Australian travel ban.
That ban was rescinded in November, allowing him to compete this year.
Djokovic will continue his bid for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and 22nd Grand Slam crown to match Rafa Nadal when he takes on unseeded American Tommy Paul in their semi-final later on Friday.