One Australian Open spectator was spotted wearing Russia's ultra-nationalist "Z" war symbol on his shirt and later that same fan went for an autograph after Novak Djokovic defeated Andrey Rublev. A Serbian fan initially wore a white shirt that had Djokovic's name written on it, as well as the name of Serbian basketball star Nikola Jokic.
That fan seemingly changed his shirt mid-match to a black shirt that had the word Z written on it.
Judging by the photos taken, one tournament official approached that fan regarding the shirt he was wearing.
👀 And just like that … we believe this is the 1st display of the Z symbol of Russia’s war on Ukraine at the international tennis tournament.
🤔 Looks like he was hiding it under the white t-shirt huh? pic.twitter.com/iG6Z0wtdkq — Ukrainian Tennis • BTU (@ukrtennis_eng) January 25, 2023
But instead of getting thrown out of Rod Laver Arena, that fan simply put a black jacket on. After beating Rublev, Djokovic approached that group of Serbian fans to give them autographs. The guy who was wearing the Z shirt, handed Djokovic the white shirt for an autograph.
The guy received a warning? Asked to change his t-shirt? Asked to leave? Anyway, he put a black jacket on and went for an autograph pic.twitter.com/RpWQxzy4qz — Ukrainian Tennis • BTU (@ukrtennis_eng) January 25, 2023
Serbian supporters then delivered the 'Serbia, Russia' chants
In a video posted by Tumaini Carayol, a group of Serbian supporters can be seen wearing a Russian flag with Vladimir Putin's face on it.
Also, that group of Serbian fans can be heard chanting "Serbia, Russia" simultaneously.
After the Russian flag was displayed on the first day of the Australian Open, the tournament banned the Russian flags on-site. During the match, the Russian flag was publicly displayed on the court.
Just took a walk around Melbourne Park after filing and a group of people were standing on the Rod Laver Arena steps, holding up a flag with Vladimir Putin’s face and chanting in support of Russia.
“Flags from Russia and Belarus are banned onsite at the Australian Open. Our initial policy was that fans could bring them in but could not use them to cause disruption. Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed courtside.
The ban is effective immediately. We will continue to work with the players and our fans to ensure the best possible environment to enjoy the tennis," a statement read.
The Russian flag and the Z symbol have been strictly prohibited from the Australian Open site. But they still made their way to Melbourne Park on Wednesday. It remains to be seen if the Australian Open will react.
Been a lot of attention on a heckler in Rod Laver Arena tonight, less so on this.