Novak Djokovic wrote a highly political message on a camera lens in Serbian after winning his opening-round match at the French Open. The message read, “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence.” Despite the provocative nature of the message, it appears that Djokovic will not face any sanctions for his actions.
The message touched on a sensitive topic in the Balkan region and in Europe more broadly, as tensions have recently escalated near the border between Kosovo and Serbia.During a Serbian language portion of his news conference, Novak Djokovic, who has family roots in Kosovo, stated that he has no regrets about his previous comments, despite public backlash. He clarified that he is against wars, violence and any kind of conflict, and empathizes with all people.
Djokovic expressed his regret for the current situation in Kosovo, which he considers a precedent in international law, and described it as their hearthstone, stronghold and home to their most important monasteries.The French Tennis Federation stated that there were no rules on what players could or could not say and later, had no further comment. Also read: Novak Djokovic Net Worth 2023, Salary, Endorsements, Cars, Houses, Properties, Etc
What is the conflict about?
Tensions between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo have existed for generations. In 1998, war broke out due to Serbia’s repression and ethnic cleansing of Albanians. NATO forces, led by U.S. President Bill Clinton, launched a 78-day air strike campaign against Serbia in 1999. Novak Djokovic, was 12 years old at the time, spoke about this event as a formative moment in his life. After a decade under UN administration, Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Later has been recognized as a sovereign state by over 100 countries, including the U.S. and most of Europe. Serbia, however, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, a notion that is echoed in Djokovic calling it “the heart of Serbia.” Also read: Novak Djokovic vs Aleksandar Kovacevic Match prediction, head-to-head, preview, and live stream | French Open
Is Djokovic’s involvement a big deal?
Djokovic’s call for an end to violence is commendable, but his use of Serbian nationalist rhetoric has sparked controversy. A comparison can be drawn to a hypothetical scenario in which a Russian player declares Ukraine as “the heart of Russia,” a sentiment that would likely be met with international rebuke due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year and the ongoing conflict.
Djokovic has previously expressed his views on Kosovo, stating that the independence declaration in 2008 was “one of the worst moments in the history of Serbia.” He also believes that “Kosovo is Serbia” and that the history of Serbia was written in Kosovo. This issue has now become a topic of discussion at the French Open, where Djokovic is attempting to surpass Rafael Nadal as the all-time Grand Slam leader. Djokovic is known for taking unpopular stances, such as his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19. So, t’s likely that he will continue to speak out on the Kosovo-Serbia conflict. Also read: Novak Djokovic to retire in 2024? The Serb gives major update on future after Rafael Nadal’s announcement
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