(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic's father was absent from his son's player's box for the Australian Open final Sunday following a controversy over images of him posing with a Russian flag featuring Vladimir Putin.
Srdjan Djokovic was not sitting courtside with the former world number one's coaching staff and his mother Dijana at the start of the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas at Rod Laver Arena.
A seat next to Djokovic's mother, usually occupied by Srdjan, was empty.
Djokovic senior decided to skip the semi-final at Melbourne Park after he faced calls, led by Ukraine, to be banned from the Grand Slam.
A video posted to a pro-Russian YouTube account had shown him posing with a man holding a Russian flag with President Putin's face on it.
The video was captioned: 'Novak Djokovic's father makes bold political statement.'
Srdjan Djokovic decided not to attend Novak's semi-final win over Tommy Paul and said in a statement that he 'wishes only for peace'.
Djokovic subsequently defended his father, saying there had been a 'misinterpretation' of the images.
The Serbian tennis star admitted that the controversy swirling around his father had 'got to me', but maintained no harm was meant.
The 35-year-old stressed that his father had 'no intention whatsoever to support any war initiatives' and said he hoped he would come to the final against Greece's Tsitsipas.
Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, had called for Srdjan Djokovic to be stripped of his accreditation.
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