French sports minister denounces Novak Djokovic for his comment on Kosovo at the French Open

Djokovic escapes disqualification after controversial comment


French sports minister denounces Novak Djokovic for his comment on Kosovo at the French Open

Novak Djokovic

Often, we say that one should keep politics away from sports. Why do we say that? Well, what Novak Djokovic wrote on the camera answers that. Players, after their wins, write messages to the camera. Most messages are either motivational or filled with love.

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However, Djokovic’s message sparked controversy. He commented on the ongoing tensions in northern Kosovo between ethnic Serbs, police, and NATO peacekeepers.

His message reads, “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence.” This did not go well with the tennis federation as they felt Djokovic added fuel to the fire. French Sports minister also got involved as the ongoing event is in Paris. She herself condemned Djokovic’s message and issued a warning and further noted that the messages of this sort will not be tolerated in the future.

“ Djokovic, I think it’s not appropriate, clearly, so the tournament director was able to speak with him, with his entourage. This must not happen again, there is a principle of neutrality, what the English call the ‘Field of Play’. When we carry messages that highlight human rights, and values that bring people together, we can express them and an athlete is free to do so. In this case, it is a message that is militant and very political and I think that we must above all not a fortiori, especially in the current circumstances, get into this and that it must not happen to reproduce.”

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As expected, fans were also disappointed with their star’s message and would want him to not repeat it. A message like this can harm Djokovic’s chances as he can be disqualified. He already faced that in 2020 at US Open when he accidentally hit the line umpire. He was sent back home and the Serb certainly doesn’t want a repeat.

Related: French Tennis Federation gives verdict on Novak Djokovic disqualification after Serbia Kosovo political statement at French Open

Can Djokovic go the distance in Paris?

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Novak Djokovic (Image via Westmeath Independent)

The Serbian ace has had an unusual run on clay. With him not making the semi-finals in any of the warm-up clay tournaments, fans doubt his chances of having a deep run this time around. The Serb started the year in fine fashion by winning in Adelaide and then lifting his 10th title in Melbourne. Since then, his form on the tour has been patchy.

Injury issues have come in, and things haven’t looked smooth. However, with the kind of record the Serb holds in Grand Slam events, it’s tough to bet against him. Also, with Rafael Nadal not taking part, his chances of winning a third trophy in Paris have increased. The draw still isn’t easy, as he has a huge Carlos Alcaraz barrier. However, the experience Djokovic has can help him overcome that too.

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