Controversial Srdjan Djokovic will avoid more controversy by skipping his son’s Australian Open semi-final Friday night against Tommy Paul.

The decision by the elder Djokovic came after the Serb was pictured with a group of fans holding Russian flags containing a likeness of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin carried by a fan wearing a banned “Z” t-shirt glorifying the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The former pizza shop owner was roasted in international media, with Tennis Australia later saying it had “spoken” with players and their entourages about proper conduct with regard to the invasion scenario.

Djokovic pere said in a statement: “I’m here to support my son only.

“I was outside with Novak’s fans, as I have done after all of his matches, to celebrate his wins and take pictures with them.

“I had no intention of being caught up in this.”

The statement added: “My family has lived through the horror of (the Balkan) war, we want nothing but peace.

“So there is no disruption to tonight’s semi-final for my son, or for any other player, I have chosen to watch from home.

“I wish for a great match and I will be cheering for my son – as always.”

Serbia and Russia are longtime political allies with Belgrade refusing to participate in worldwide sanctions on the Putin regime in the wake of last February’s invasion.