Australian Open 2023: Semifinalist Karen Khachanov accused of ‘hateful’ message, Azerbaijan, Armenia

Karen Khachanov defended himself on Tuesday after his help on the Australian Open for a contested Armenian enclave sparked a harshly worded criticism from Azerbaijani tennis officers.

The Russian of Armenian descent wrote a message on a TV digital camera lens after his fourth-round win at Melbourne Park, saying: “Consider to the top. Artsakh, maintain on!”

In a earlier spherical, the semi-finalist wrote: “Artsakh stays sturdy.”

They referred to the contested area of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan over which Baku and Yerevan have fought two wars.

“I’ve Armenian roots. From my father’s facet, from my grandfather’s facet, even from my mom’s facet. I am half-Armenian,” he mentioned after reaching the semifinals as an Armenian flag was displayed at Rod Laver Enviornment.

“To be sincere I do not need to go any deeper and I simply wished to indicate my folks power and help. That is it.”

In a letter revealed on-line, the Tennis Federation of Azerbaijan mentioned it had protested to the organizers of the Australian Open and the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF).

She demanded that he be “punished” with “harsh measures”.

“The Azerbaijan Tennis Federation (ATF) has despatched a letter of protest to the Worldwide Tennis Federation concerning the provocation in opposition to Azerbaijan on the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam,” the assertion mentioned.

“Karen Khachanov, a Russian athlete of Armenian origin who reached the lads’s 1/16 ultimate, attracted consideration along with his hateful act. Khachanov wrote “Artsakh keep sturdy” as his heartfelt phrases after beating his American rival Frances Tiafoe 3-1 on digital camera.

“The letter of the Azerbaijan Tennis Union offered info and authorized paperwork concerning the provocation in opposition to Azerbaijan. The ATF condemned this act and known as for the tennis participant to be punished and known as on the Worldwide Tennis Federation to take powerful measures to stop such incidents sooner or later.”

Khachanov mentioned he was unaware of the letter and had not been requested “thus far” to cease messaging after the sport.

Initially revealed as Australian Open semi-finalist Karen Khachanov accused of “hateful” message