Fans fume as 'ultra fascist' Serbian flag is on display during the Australian Open final
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While Novak Djokovic made history on the court, the Australian Open final wasn't without its controversy off it, as the tournament was hit with yet another flag incident in the stands.
During Channel Nine's television broadcast of the final between Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, eagle-eyed viewers noticed a spectator waving a far-right flag inside Rod Laver Arena.
“Why am I seeing a Chetnik flag amongst the Serbian crowd at the Tsitsipas vs Djokovic match? Are ultra fascist symbols allowed in the Australian Open now?” Twitter user Sophie Mak said.
The fan appeared to be sitting among fellow Serbians supporting Djokovic.
I really think they need to make the 2024 #AusOpen a flag-free zone if their security repeatedly can't figure this stuff out.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 29, 2023
Tournament security has been pretty abysmal (though we haven't had the ~annual court invader during the men's final yet). https://t.co/Mztq6NstPg
The Serbian Chetniks, who are paramilitary ultranationalists, are considered a far-right group in Europe.
The Yugoslav group gained notoriety during World War II for committing serious war crimes and still have a strong following to this day.
Back in 2020, Djokovic landed himself in hot water when he was snapped posing for a picture holding a bottle featuring a picture of Draza Mihailovic, the group's founding.
Now, three years on and Novak's dad Srdjan Djokovic has done something similar, posing with some controversial figures.
Just last week, the famous father sparked outrage after he was photographed alongside Russian flags and pro-Putin supporters while at the Australian Open.
One man he was pictured with was seen wearing a 'Z' on his t-shirt, a symbol associated with supporters of the conflict in Ukraine.
As for this most recent incident during the final itself, Tennis Australia is yet to speak on the matter, although you can imagine they'd be conducting an investigation.
As everyone is well aware, Russian and Belarusian flag have been banned from the Gram Slam as the conflict in the Ukraine wages on.
It means the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov have been playing under neutral banners.
Ever since a Russian flag was brandished earlier in the tournament, Tennis Australia have tried to stamp out – although it seems security were caught lacking with this one.
Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg tweeted: "I really think they need to make the 2024 #AusOpen a flag-free zone if their security repeatedly can't figure this stuff out.
"Tournament security has been pretty abysmal (though we haven't had the annual court invader during the men's final yet)."
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@SophieMak1/Ch9/Alamy
Topics: Australia, Australian Open, Tennis, Serbia, Novak Djokovic