01 Jun 2023 at 08:04Update: 13 minutes ago
Tennis federation ITF does not penalize Novak Djokovic for his political statement about Kosovo on Rolland Garros. The rules of Grand Slam tournaments do not prohibit political statements.
Djokovic wrote “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a camera lens after beating American Aleksandar Kovacevic in the opening round on Monday. In doing so, he responded to the recent riots in the former province of Serbia.
On Monday, about thirty NATO soldiers were injured in northern Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 against the wishes of Serbia. This happened during confrontations with Serbian demonstrators in the city of Zvecan, where Djokovic’s father grew up.
“As the son of a Kosovo-born man, I feel the need to support my people and all of Serbia,” Djokovic said. “This is the least I could do. As a public figure, I feel obliged to show support for our people and all of Serbia.”
Djokovic’s controversial text on camera. Photo: Getty Images
“Grand Slam without a fuss will never be possible for me”
Kosovo’s tennis federation and Olympic committee asked for sanctions against Djokovic. The international tennis federation ITF does not go along with that. Tournament director Amélie Mauresmo and the French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra did address him about it. The international tennis association ATP may still be able to take steps.
“I’ve said what I wanted to say and I’m not going to waste any more words on this,” Djokovic said. “Well, a Grand Slam without fuss will never be an option for me. It doesn’t have to be, it’s something that drives me.” On Friday, Djokovic will play against Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round.
The 36-year-old Serbian was also involved in a political row earlier this year around the Australian Open. His father was then seen in a video in which fans pose with a Russian flag bearing the likeness of President Vladimir Putin.