Roland Garros: Djokovic brings the Kosovo conflict to Roland Garros: “It is the heart of Serbia! Stop the violence”

Updated Wednesday, May 31, 2023 –

The Roland Garros regulations prohibit political messages on the court, for which the tournament director assured that they are studying the situation

Djokovic after writing his controversial message after his victory at Roland Garros.EUROPA PRESS
  • P&R The keys to the return of violence in Kosovo

It is not being a quiet start to Roland Garros. War and political tensions have made an appearance at the Parisian tournament, shaking up the world of tennis. Two days after the Ukrainian war landed on the dirt tracks, due to the rejection of the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk to greet his Belarusian rival Aryna Sabalenkathe serbian Novak Djokovic brought to the clay-court Grand Slam the tense situation in Kosovo.

“Kosovo is the heart of Serbia! Stop the violence,” wrote the player on the camera that the tournament makes available to the winners on center court to send a message at the end of their matches.

A clear reference to the growing tension in that territory that declared its independence, not recognized by many countries, and where the Serb minority does not recognize the authority of Pristina.

The problem is that the Roland Garros regulations prohibit political messages on the track, so the tournament director, Amelie MauresmoHe assured that they are studying the situation.

“Let’s see, to talk to him to find out what he really meant. Let’s not rush,” said the former world number 1 on French public television.

The situation could be compromised for the tournament against a player as influential as Djokovic, current number 3 in the ranking, who is looking for his third crown in Paris and thus complete 23, which would place him as the tennis player with the greatest in history, surpassing the Spanish by one Rafael Nothingl.

In a subsequent press conference, Djokovic tried to avoid controversy, but noted that “as the son of a person born in Kosovo there is an additional responsibility to support the people and all of Serbia.”

For her part, the French Minister of Sports, Amelie Oudea-Castera, said Novak Djokovic’s message was not “appropriate”. Asked by France 2, the minister, former director of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), indicated that “it is not appropriate.” “There is no need to start over,” she said, calling the message “militant” and “very political.”

It is not the first time that the tennis player has spoken out against the independence of that territory. In 2008, when Pristina declared it, Djokovic said he was going through “one of the worst moments” in the country’s history and assured: “We are willing to defend what belongs to us”.

This new controversy occurs two days after the one between Sabalenka and Kostyuk.

The Ukrainian refused to greet her Belarusian rival, number 2 in the world, and accused her of not taking a firm position against the war.

The gesture earned Kostyuk boos from the public, an attitude that made the player ugly, who pointed out that this would not happen in other Grand Slams like Wimbledom.

Sabalenka said that “nobody in this world, including Russian and Belarusian athletes, supports this war,” but it was not enough for the Ukrainian, who counterattacked: “Let her not speak on behalf of others, speak on her own.”

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2023-05-31 05:38:05
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