French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera condemned Novak Djokovic's political message about Kosovo. Following his French Open first-round win, Djokovic wrote on the camera lens: "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence." Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, has never been recognized by Serbia as a sovereign state.
In recent days, there have been tensions in the Kosovo region as police and NATO troops clashed with Serb protesters. "When you carry messages about defending human rights, messages that bring people together around universal values, a sportsperson is free to express them.
But in this case it was a message that is very activist, that is very political. You shouldn't get involved, especially in the current circumstances, and it shouldn't happen again," Oudea-Castera told France 2, via the BBC.
Djokovic explained his Kosovo message
Djokovic's political message about Kosovo sparked controversy and some called for the FFT to take action against the Serb. During a conversation with Serbian journalists, Djokovic explained the reasons behind his decision.
“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. In a short statement, the FFT indicated Djokovic would face no any sanctions.
"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.
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