‘These things can’t be left unseen’: Last Ukrainian at the Australian Open speaks out on the HURT she felt from pro-Russian displays, Novak Djokovic’s father – and fears of abuse from ‘aggressive’ fans
Ukraine’s last representative in the Australian Open has spoken of her hurt at the pro-Russian demonstrations that broke out at Melbourne Park.
Marta Kostyuk was beaten in the semi-finals of the women’s doubles alongside Gabriele Ruse, and was appalled by the sight of Putin sympathisers present at Novak Djokovic’s quarter final on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old also mentioned her reluctance to comment on the storm around his father Srdjan associating with them, after being subjected to a torrent of hate from the Serbian star’s fans.
Marta Kostyuk has spoken of her hurt at pro-Russian demonstrations at the Australian Open
A fan at the tournament was pictured wearing Russia’s ultra-nationalist ‘Z’ war symbol
Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan was also seen in footage with a Russian flag at the tournament
‘It hurts a lot because there were specific rules that were printed out outside, you’re not allowed to bring out the flags and so on,’ she said after going down 6-2 6-2 to Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Asked about Srdjan Djokovic associating with the fringe element of fans declaring support for Russian she was reluctant to comment, even though she has been outspoken about matters relating to her home country.
‘I think these kind of things cannot be left unseen, because it doesn’t matter who you are, no one is allowed to do it. It’s very upsetting. I cannot give you an answer what the tournament should do.
Kostyuk was the last Ukrainian in the Open and she was appalled at seeing Putin sympathisers
A group of fans also chanted ‘Russia, Serbia’ in relation to the two countries’ close cultural ties
‘First of all, it’s not in my power. Second of all, no matter what I say, I’m going to be hated the rest of my life, especially by very aggressive Novak fans.
‘People know that, (although) not all of them, Novak has very aggressive fans. I know this because I experienced this in the past. I got so much hate especially from Serbian fans.’
With Wimbledon weighing up over the coming months whether to reverse its bans on players from Russia and Belarus, she is inclined to think that it should stay.
Djokovic (left) with father Srdjan. After watching his son’s quarter-final win at the Australian Open Srdjan was seen posing with a Russian flag featuring Vladimir Putin’s face
‘For me it is going to be a difficult moment for Wimbledon,’ she said. ‘I think yes. Because I cannot imagine if someone Russian or Belarusian wins the tournament and then I think yes.
‘Because I cannot imagine if someone Russian or Belarusian wins the tournament and then royal family has to hold the trophies with them. I hardly imagine this.
‘This is one of the big reasons they actually banned them. So I think yes.’