Anthony Albanese enjoys a beer in the stands during Novak Djokovic’s win at the Australian Open
Anthony Albanese enjoys a beer in the stands during Novak Djokovic’s win over Tommy Paul at the Australian Open as Prime Minister REFUSES to weigh in on Vladimir Putin row with Serbian’s father
Anthony Albanese may be a self-confessed footy enthusiast, but it appears he enjoys a day out at the tennis too.
A die-hard Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Swans fan, the Australian Prime Minister was in the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena for the Australian Open semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Tommy Paul on Friday.
Sipping on a pint, Albanese watched intently from the stands as Djokovic reached fourth Australian Open final in five years after winning 7-5 6-1 6-2.
Anthony Albanese was in the stands at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday evening
While Albanese was in the stands, Djokovic’s father was conspicuously absent in the wake of his controversial interaction with Vladimir Putin supporters on Wednesday.
Srdjan Djokovic was filmed with a man wearing a ‘Z’ T-shirt [denoting support for Russian armed forces] and behind a flag sporting the face of the Russian president.
‘However, he maintained that he was merely wishing to thank Novak’s fans for their support. I am here to support my son only,’ he said in a statement on Friday.
I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption,
Sipping on a pint, the Australian Prime Minister watched the Australian Open semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Tommy Paul
Albanese is a self-confessed die-hard footy fan but appeared to have a good time at the tennis
The Aussie PM was spotted joking and laughing in the stands as he watched the semi-final
‘I was outside with Novak’s fans as I have done after all my son’s matches to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them. I had no intention of being caught up with this.’
Asked about the controversy, Albanese reiterated Australia was ‘unequivocal’ in its support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.
‘I will make this point, that Australia stands with the people of Ukraine,’ he said at a press conference.
‘That is Australia’s position and Australia is unequivocal in our support for the rule of international law and 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.’
Novak Djokovic’s father was seen with a pro-Russia advocate after his quarter final win
The ‘Z’ symbol is among a number of items banned from this year’s Australian Open
The Australian Open has been hit by a security farce after the male spectator who wore an ultra-nationalist Russian T-shirt on Wednesday returned to Rod Laver Arena
Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko, however, called for Tennis Australia to ban Djokovic’s father from attending the final, should his son make it that far.
‘It’s a disgrace and it’s very sad that the father of one of the most famous tennis players is supportive of Russia,’ he told Sky News Australia on Friday.
‘I think he just should be stripped of accreditation to be on the court when his son plays and [Tennis Australia] must actually address this issue.’
On Friday, it appeared the tennis fan who brandished Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol returned to the Rod Laver Arena in a major security faux pas for tournament organisers.
Djokovic appeared to taunt the crowd in Melbourne after being booed for winning the first set
The 21-time Grand Slam winner also had a frosty exchange with the chair umpire
Meanwhile, Djokovic was involved in a couple of controversial moments on the court on Friday, as he shared an frosty exchange with the umpire after being reprimanded for a shot clock violation and taunted the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena.
Leading 5-1 in the first set, Djokovic was unsettled by a serve clock violation when he went to get his towel.
Djokovic appeared to argue that the clock ought to start after he collected his towel courtside – with ball kids no longer permitted to hand towels to players.
‘The ball kids are not allowed to give me the towel, so tell me how it works,’ he asks the umpire, who explains the rules to him.
‘It’s the first time I’ve been to the towel this game, and you start the clock before I touch the towel. Well done.’
Djokovic let his lead slip as Paul won four straight games, before eventually composing himself to take the opening set 7-5 to a chorus of boos.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner was clearly unimpressed with the reaction of the crowd and appeared to taunt spectators by putting his finger behind his ear.