|Dates: May 28 – June 11 place: Roland Garros, Paris|
|coverage: Live text and radio commentary of selected matches via BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app|
Novak Djokovic says he “realizes people will disagree” with him writing a political message about Kosovo on the French open camera lens, but it is an issue he “supports”.
“Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence,” Djokovic, 36, wrote after his first-round victory on Monday.
The French sports minister said that was the Serb’s actions “unsuitable” It shouldn’t happen again.
“A drama-free Grand Slam tournament, I don’t think that could happen to me,” Djokovic said.
“I think that gets me going, too.”
the Djokovic wrote a phrase In reference to the recent tension in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia has never recognized Kosovo’s independence.
There she has It was violent in the old days Following the inauguration of ethnic Albanian mayors in the north of the country, police and NATO forces clashed with Serb demonstrators.
In his post-match press conference, the 22-time Grand Slam champion tried to put the controversy behind him.
Asked if he had thought about the negative reaction to his actions, Djokovic said, “Of course I realize a lot of people will disagree, but it is the way it is. It’s something I support. So that’s it.”
After beating Hungarian Marton Vosovic in the second round on Wednesday, Djokovic put his stamp on the lens — something the winner does after every French Open match.
The International Tennis Federation, the international tennis federation, said Djokovic’s statement did not violate any rules because the Grand Slam rule book does not prohibit political statements.
French Sports Minister Amelie Audia-Castierra said a “principle of neutrality in the field of play” was needed.
Odea Castera said it discriminated against messages supportive of Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, adding that it did not put Kosovo and Ukraine “on the same level”.
This includes the support of the Ukrainian player Marta Kostyuk, which was booed by the crowd After she refused to shake hands with Arina Sabalenka of Belarus on Sunday.
Belarus is an ally of Russia and allowed troops to use its territory to launch an invasion of Ukraine last year.
Djokovic, whose father was born in Kosovo, said earlier in the week that he was “against wars, violence and any kind of conflict” but that the situation in Kosovo was “a precedent in international law”.
“Especially as the son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to offer my support to our people and all of Serbia,” he said on Monday.
“Kosovo is our cradle, our stronghold, the center of the most important things for our country. There are many reasons why I wrote this on camera.
“Of course it pains me a lot as a Serb to see what is happening in Kosovo and the way our people have been practically expelled from the municipal offices, so it was the least I could do.”
Kosovo’s Olympic authorities asked the IOC to open disciplinary proceedings against Djokovic, accusing him of stirring up political tension.
Djokovic’s message ‘must ruffle feathers’
Guy DeLoney, BBC News Balkans correspondent
The phrase “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” may sound like a strange statement. After all, Kosovo gained its independence in 2008 — and its geographic location in the southwest meant that, even before then, it had always been on the fringes of Serbia.
But its symbolic significance remains crucial to many Serbs. The Battle of Kosovo in 1389 has been legendarily regarded as a decisive event in the formation of Serbian identity. Many of the most important sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church are located within modern Kosovo.
Serbia is one of dozens of countries that refuse to recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. Serbs with family ties to Kosovo are particularly keen to ensure that Serbia’s policy of non-recognition continues.
It’s been a turbulent month for Serbia – with Mass shootings and multiple protests – An ethnic Serb in Kosovo. By writing his message on the field, the country’s sporting icon showed his support — but in a way that’s bound to ruffle feathers.
Scribbling with his pen, Djokovic accurately illustrated the enduring complexity of the situation.