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Tennis-Djokovic stands by Kosovo statement, wishes to put incident behind him


By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Serbian Novak Djokovic said he stood by his statement on Kosovo but wished to put the controversy behind him after his second-round victory at the French Open on Wednesday.

The world number three wrote: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” on a camera lens following his first-round win on Monday, the same day that 30 NATO peacekeeping troops were hurt in clashes with Serb protesters in the Kosovo town of Zvecan – where Djokovic’s father grew up.

It caused a furore, with Kosovo’s Olympic authorities asking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open disciplinary proceedings against Djokovic and French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera saying the 22-time Grand Slam winner’s comments were “not appropriate”.

Djokovic is not set to face any punishment as both the French and international tennis federations have said that no Grand Slam rules were broken.

“I would say it again, but I don’t need to because you have my quotes if you want to reflect on that,” Djokovic told a press conference on Wednesday.

“Of course I’m aware that a lot of people would disagree, but it is what it is. It’s something that I stand for. So that’s all. I have no more comment on that. I said what I needed to say.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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