Novak Djokovic mural in Kosovo destroyed after Serb's controversial political message

Djokovic sent a political message after his first-round win at French Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic mural in Kosovo destroyed after Serb's controversial political message

A Novak Djokovic mural in Kosovo has been destroyed after the Serb sparked controversy with his political message at the French Open. After beating Aleksandar Kovacevic in his French Open first-round match, Djokovic wrote on the camera: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia – stop the violence." In 2008, Kosovo declared independence and since then over 100 countries have recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state.

But Serbia is not one of those countries, instead believing Kosovo is still part of their territory. The morning after Djokovic declared Kosovo "the heart of Serbia", the Serb tennis star's mural in Kosovo was found destroyed.

What did Djokovic say about his act?

In a conversation with Serbian media, Djokovic explained his political message. “I am not a politician and I don’t have the intention to get into political debate. That topic is very sensitive… As a Serb, everything that’s happening in Kosovo hurts me a lot.

This is the least I could have done. I feel the responsibility as a public figure – doesn’t matter in which field – to give support… Especially as a son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to give my support to them and to Serbia.

I don’t know what the future brings for Serbian people and for Kosovo, but it’s necessary to show support and demonstrate unity in these kinds of situations," Djokovic told Serbian media. Petrit Selimi, a former Kosovo Foreign Minister, tweeted this after Djokovic's message.

"So if a Russian player tomorrow writes 'Crimea and Donbas are heart of Russia. Stop violence' it’s all cool? Djokovic has a history of support for Serbian nationalist causes," Selimi tweeted. Meanwhile, the French Open organizers released a short statement after the calls were made to punish Djokovic.

"There are no official Grand Slam rules on what players can or cannot say. The FFT [French Federation of Tennis] will not be making any statement or taking any stance on this matter," the FFT said in a statement.

Novak Djokovic French Open