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Novak Djokovic Says Russian Flag Incident ‘Misinterpreted’, Hopes Father Can Attend Final

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Djokovic said that images showing his father holding Russian flags had been misinterpreted© Twitter

Novak Djokovic on Friday said that images showing his father with fans holding Russian flags had been misinterpreted and he hopes he can attend the Australian Open final. A video posted to a pro-Russian YouTube account on Thursday showed Djokovic’s father Srdjan posing with a man holding a Russian flag with Vladimir Putin’s face on it. It sparked a backlash from Ukraine and calls for him to be banned from the opening Grand Slam of the year. Djokovic’s father issued a statement earlier Friday saying he “wishes only for peace” and had “no intention of causing such headlines or disruption”.

He did not attend his son’s semi-final victory at Melbourne Park.

“I saw as everyone else saw what happened and it was unfortunate the misinterpretation of what happened has escalated to such a high level,” Djokovic said after the match.

“It has got to me of course. I was not aware of it until last night. And then of course I was not pleased to see that.

“My father, my whole family have been through several wars. As my father put in the statement, we are against the war. We will never support any violence or war,” he added.

He said his father had been greeting fans outside Rod Laver Arena after every match he played to thank them for their support.

“The photo that he made, he was passing through, I heard what he said and it was ‘cheers’,” said Djokovic.

“Unfortunately some media has interpreted that in a really wrong way. I’m sorry that it has escalated so much.”

Some media reported that he said in Serbian: “Long live Russia.”

“I hope people will understand that there was absolutely no intention whatsoever to support any kind of war initiatives,” added the world number five.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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