After his first-round victory on Monday, Djokovic wrote “Kosovo is the [heart symbol] of Serbia. Cease the violence” on a TV digital camera lens in response to violent clashes in Kosovo.
Tensions have been rising prior to now week in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. There have been clashes with protesters on Monday over the set up of ethnically Albanian mayors in a disputed election.
Dozens of NATO peacekeepers had been injured on Monday after clashes erupted with Serbian demonstrators attempting to dam the newly elected mayors from taking workplace within the northern municipality of Zvecan.
Djokovic, whose father was born in Kosovo, mentioned this week that he felt obliged to “give my help to our folks and to the whole lot of Serbia.”
His reference to the “entirety of Serbia” displays the coverage of the Serbian authorities, which nonetheless considers Kosovo to be an integral a part of its territory and has not acknowledged the nation’s independence.
CNN earlier this week sought clarification from Djokovic’s illustration to see if he needs Kosovo to be a part of Serbia however didn’t obtain a response.
“After all, I’m conscious that lots of people would disagree, however it’s what it’s,” Djokovic mentioned on Wednesday after his second-round victory towards Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics. “It’s one thing that I stand for. In order that’s all.”
He added that he had not spoken to French Open match director Amélie Mauresmo concerning the incident.
On Tuesday, the Kosovan Olympic Committee (KOC) referred to as for the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) and Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) to take disciplinary motion towards Djokovic.
The KOC claimed that the 22-time grand slam champion had “but once more promoted the Serbian nationalist propaganda and used the game platform to take action,” thereby elevating “the extent of rigidity and violence between the 2 international locations, Kosovo and Serbia.”
Nonetheless, the ITF mentioned that gamers’ conduct at a grand slam is ruled by the grand slam rulebook of the related organizer, in which there’s “no provision … that prohibits political statements.”
The IOC mentioned that athletes solely fall beneath its authority through the Olympic Video games.
Djokovic isn’t any stranger to controversy at grand slam tournaments. On the Australian Open in January, he mentioned that his father, Srdjan, didn’t intend to help “any type of struggle initiatives,” having been filmed with a bunch of Russian supporters on the Australian Open.
Then on the 2022 Australian Open, the 36-year-old was deported from the nation after arriving in Melbourne unvaccinated towards Covid-19.
“A drama-free grand slam, I don’t assume it could possibly occur for me,” he mentioned on Wednesday. “You already know, I suppose that drives me as effectively.”
Djokovic faces Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina within the third spherical of the French Open on Friday as he continues his bid to win a twenty third grand slam title – another than Rafael Nadal on the high of the boys’s all-time checklist.