Novak Djokovic defends controversial Kosovo message at French Open – video | Sport

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Novak Djokovic has sparked a potential political row after his first-round win against Aleksandar Kovacevic at the French Open. The Serb player used the customary post-match camera signing to write the message: “Kosovo is [heart symbol] Serbia. Stop violence.” In his post-match press conference, Djokovic said the message “is the least I could have done. I feel the responsibility as a public figure – doesn’t matter in which field – to give support:

Djokovic’s message was in reference to recent unrest and violence in Kosovo after local elections in April. Serbs form the majority of the population in northern Kosovo and they still view Belgrade as their capital. After they refused to take part in local elections, groups of ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo clashed with Kosovo police and Nato‑led peacekeepers.

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Following the 1998-99 war that led to the deaths of at least 10,000 people, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and it is recognised by more than 100 members of the UN, including the UK. But Serbia still considers Kosovo as part of its country and has refused to recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

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