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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Delic appeals ahead of Djokovic match


MELBOURNE, Australia -- Bosnian-born Amer Delic on Thursday appealed for fans to calm their behavior ahead of his third-round clash with Serb defending champion Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

Delic, who on Wednesday beat Paul-Henri Mathieu in his second successive five-set match, posted a plea on his Web site urging fans to settle down.

"As we all know, Bosnians and Serbs have had some differences in the past, however this is not the place nor time to settle those differences," the naturalized American wrote.

"Novak and I are tennis players playing in one of the greatest settings in the world of tennis. I am only hoping for a fair fight that all the fans will enjoy, with the key word being 'enjoy.' That's what we are all here for, to enjoy moments like these," he wrote.

Extra security had been required at Delic's second-round match after a group of Serbian supporters turned up after watching countryman Janko Tipsarevic lose to Croatian 19th seed Marin Cilic.

Two rival supporters were kicked out for scuffling at a bar following Tipsarevic's defeat.

Police moved in quickly to break up the fight and eject the two men as part of their zero-tolerance policy on troublemakers.

Two years ago, the Australian Open was marred by violent clashes between an estimated 150 Croatian and Serbian fans. Last year, police used capsicum spray on a group of rowdy Greek supporters.