Novak Djokovic cruised to an Australian Open semifinal victory over Tommy Paul in straight sets on Friday, though a familiar face, Djokovic’s father, Srdan, was not there to witness it. Novak Djokovic’s father found himself in the headlines after he was spotted alongside a group of pro-Russia supporters of Vladimir Putin after his son’s quarterfinal victory over Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic’s father opted to stay away from the semifinal match so as not to be a “disruption.” After getting one step closer to his 22nd Grand Slam title, Novak Djokovic addressed his father’s incident, per Sasa Ozmo on Twitter.

“My father went after every match to the fans, to thank them, talk and take photos. There were a lot of Serbian flags around. He didn’t see”.

Novak Djokovic said that his father was attempting to thank fans and talk with them after his match. With plenty of Serbian flags around, Djokovic says that his father Srdan “didn’t see” the Russian flags that the Putin supporters were holding.

The Serbian tennis star added that it’s “unfortunate” that this situation has escalated to the point that it has.

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Given the war in Ukraine and the Australian Open’s ban of any Russian flags or clothing, the optics certainly weren’t good for Novak Djokovic or his father.

But, as Djokovic himself said, he and his family lived through wars and could “never be pro war.”

Djokovic’s father said the following in a statement, “I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption.”

He added that having lived through the “horror of war”, he and his family “wish for peace.”

Despite these distractions, Novak Djokovic will look to add to his trophy case with a 10th Australian Open title in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.