Novak Djokovic is under fire after supposedly sparking tension between Kosovo and Serbia.
Following his first-round win at the 2023 French Open Monday, Nole wrote “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia, stop the violence” on the camera lens, which drew a response from the Kosovo Tennis Federation. For background, 30 peacemaking soldiers were injured in the Kosovo town of Zvecan during clashes with Serbian protesters recently.
“The comments made by Novak Djokovic at the end of his Roland Garros match against Aleksandar Kovacevic, his statements at the post-match press conference, and his Instagram post are regrettable.”
“Novak Djokovic was already the author of similar actions in the past. Despite a general message against violence, the statement ‘Kosovo is the heart of Serbia' and further statements after the match, made by such a public figure, on the occasion of a worldwide event like the French Open, directly result in raising the level of tension between the two states, Serbia and Kosovo,” the statement added.
Novak's father was actually born and raised Zvecan, which is why he feels so strongly about the matter.
“As a son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to give my support to our people and to entire Serbia,” he told reporters. “My stance is clear: I am against wars, violence and any kind of conflict, as I've always stated publicly. I empathize with all people, but the situation with Kosovo is a precedent in international law.”
Basically, there is a belief that with Novak Djokovic making these remarks as one of the most popular people in Serbia, it could cause more problems. But, all Nole is trying to do is make his voice heard. Whether that results in peace or violence remains to be seen.
Djokovic is back in action Tuesday against Marton Fucsovics.