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Security at the Australian Open will be tightened after pro-Russian displays among Djokovic's fans

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Security at the Australian Open will be tightened after pro-Russian displays among Djokovic's fans

Security is expected to be further tightened at the Australian Open over the finals weekend after Novak Djokovic’s presence sparked another incident, including a display of pro-Russian sentiment among his fans.

Despite clear restrictions and searches at entry points, a Russian flag with Vladimir Putin’s face was unfurled on the steps of Rod Laver Arena after Djokovic made it through to the semi-finals.

Another of his supporters sat in the front row and opened a T-shirt with a large ‘Z’, the emblem of the Russian army.

Security is expected to be tightened at the Australian Open during the finals weekend

Security is expected to be tightened at the Australian Open during the finals weekend

This was despite the nine-time champion playing Russian Andrey Rublev, whom he crushed 6-1 6-2 6-4 as he marched to another title.

A photo later emerged of Djokovic signing something for the man in the ‘Z’ shirt, although at the time he appeared to have covered it up.

Afterwards, a group of fans chanted ‘Russia, Serbia’ as a reminder of the two countries’ close cultural ties, and the sympathy of some from the latter for Putin’s war in Ukraine.

A fan at the Australian Open was spotted wearing an ultra-nationalist Russian war symbol

A fan at the Australian Open was spotted wearing an ultra-nationalist Russian war symbol

The 'Z' symbol is among several items banned from this year's Australian Open

The ‘Z’ symbol is among several items banned from this year’s Australian Open

A group of fans chanted 'Russia, Serbia' as a reminder of the two countries' close cultural ties

A group of fans chanted ‘Russia, Serbia’ as a reminder of the two countries’ close cultural ties

‘Four people in the crowd leaving the stadium displayed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards,’ Tennis Australia said in a statement.

‘Victoria Police intervened and continued to question them. Everyone’s comfort and safety is our priority and we are working closely with security and the authorities.’

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For his part, Djokovic was once again unhappy about being heckled by an individual, and after the first set complained bitterly to British umpire James Keothavong.

The 35-year-old pointed to a fan in the crowd who shouted 'send him home' on Wednesday

The 35-year-old pointed to a fan in the crowd who shouted ‘send him home’ on Wednesday

There has been an unusually charged atmosphere at his matches this year after the events of twelve months ago, when he was detained and then deported after legal wrangling.

This tournament was a volatile intersection, seeing fervent support for Djokovic, added by fringe elements of the Serbian community at a time of turmoil in Europe.

Further fueling this is the presence of two Russian-born players in the semi-finals, Elena Rybakina and Karen Khachanov, along with two Belarussians, Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka.

Four barrackers were thrown in Djokovic’s second-round match, but one in the match against Rublev was allowed to stand as he kept quiet.

Four fans were ejected from Djokovic's second round game for wearing 'Where's Wally' outfits

Four fans were ejected from Djokovic’s second round game for wearing ‘Where’s Wally’ outfits

‘If someone crosses the line and starts making comments that have nothing to do with the support of another player, he just wants to insult and insult, then crossing the line is something I react to,’ said said Djokovic later.

‘After this, I heard him, but he supports Rublev. He doesn’t make any bad comments until the end of the match, so I don’t have any complaints about that.’

He became more calm earlier: ‘Can you tell the front to shut up or not?’ he asked Keothavong, brother of former GB number one Anne. ‘ Every point, every point, you don’t react’.

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‘I don’t care if he supports her [Rublev]. But three or four times in a row, he said things about me.’

The male bully shouted ‘Take Rublev home,’ but it was unclear if he was any further than that. Four viewers, dressed in ‘Where’s Wally’ outfits were kicked out last week for repeatedly goading him.

His two remaining opponents at the Australian Open will surely have their supporters keen not to miss the 35-year-old Serb over him.

He will now play outsider Tommy Paul, and the American will be hoping to avoid the kind of beating Djokovic seems more inclined to dish out when he’s angry. It just makes his chest puff out, Incredible Hulk-fashion, and play better.

Djokovic will now face American Tommy Paul (pictured) in the semi-finals of the Australian Open

Djokovic will now face American Tommy Paul (pictured) in the semi-finals of the Australian Open

Now that the problem with his hamstring, which he was partially protected, seems to be banished as any kind of significant factor there is nothing to suggest that he can lose.

He reached nine semi-finals in Melbourne and won them all, going on to reach nine finals, which he won each time.

Paul, the world number 35, ended 20-year-old Ben Shelton’s breakout run in the quarter finals.

The older American has been a contrastingly gradual improver to the rising star, and is beyond the last four having never been past the fourth round at a Grand Slam before.

He was able to take advantage of his young compatriot’s weaker backhand side to win 7-6 6-3 5-7 6-4.

Britain’s last representative in the main events, Neal Skupski, was eliminated after a losing streak on the day Wimbledon announced the change to its doubles code.

The All England Club will reduce men’s doubles matches from best of five to best of three sets, in line with other Majors and in the hope it could attract more singles players.

Skupski and partner Wesley Koolhof lost in the men’s doubles quarters, and he then exited in the mixed semi-finals with American team-mate Desirae Krawczyk.

He later said he considered his future in the mix, given the workload at tournaments.