Fan at the Australian Open wears the Russian war symbol ‘Z’ on his shirt during Novak Djokovic’s match
Fan at the Australian Open sparks outrage by revealing Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol on his shirt during Novak Djokovic’s match against Russian star Andrey Rublev – while others wave a flag with Putin’s face
Tennis chefs have been urged to act decisively after a spectator wore Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol on his shirt during Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal at the Australian Open.
Eagle-eyed fans took to Twitter to spot a man wearing a black T-shirt with a large ‘Z’ on the front at the Rod Laver Arena ahead of Wednesday night’s game between Djokovic and Russian star Andrey Rublev.
The letter ‘Z’ has become a symbol of ultra-nationalist tributes to Russian President Vladimir Putin as he wages his war against Ukraine. It has been seen spray-painted white on the side of Russian tanks when they invaded their neighboring country.
A fan at the Australian Open has been spotted wearing an ultra-nationalist Russian war symbol
The spectator attended Novak Djokovic’s victory over Russian star Andrey Rublev in Melbourne
A white ‘Z’ letter symbolizes ultra-nationalist tributes to Russian President Vladimir Putin
It was painted on the side of tanks during the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Garments with a white letter ‘Z’ are part of a list of banned items at the Australian Open.
And Ukrainian tennis star Alex Dolgopolov has called for a ‘lifetime suspension’ from the spectator after he took off a white T-shirt to display the war symbol in Melbourne.
“This man is banned for life, at least from all Australian events, right? @AustralianOpen,” he tweeted.
Footage emerged outside the venue of fans waving flags plastered with Putin’s face, despite tournament organizers banning the flags of the Russian Federation and Belarus during the event.
According to bystanders, the group sang songs in support of Russia.
Ukrainian tennis star Alex Dolgopolov has called for the fan to be banned for life
The ‘Z’ symbol is one of the items banned at this year’s Australian Open
The issue of waving Russian flags during the tournament first surfaced last week when a rogue fan put up a Russian flag during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova.
Tennis Australia responded to the incident by immediately banning the display of Russian and Belarusian flags, having already ruled that players from those countries must compete as neutrals “with no flags or country recognition.”
In response, the Russian Embassy accused Open organizers Tennis Australia of politicizing the event.
The embassy expressed the hope that Tennis Australia would instead aim to provide ‘the best possible environment for the enjoyment of tennis’.
Fans waved a flag with Putin’s face on it and sang Russian war songs in Melbourne
Earlier, during the match between Baindl and Rakhimova at the Open, Ukrainian diplomat Myroshnychenko aimed over a Russian flag that was clearly visible from an outside court.
“I strongly condemn the display of the Russian flag during today’s match of Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open,” Myroshnychenko wrote on Twitter.
“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its ‘neutral flag’ policy.”
Mr Myroshnychenko previously called for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from the Open, as they were from the last Wimbledon, but Tennis Australia rejected the demand.