ROLAND GARROS — The president of Kosovan tennis has called for Novak Djokovic to be sanctioned by tennis authorities after he wrote that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia – stop violence” on Monday.

Djokovic told Serbian reporters after his first-round win over Aleksandar Kovacevic that he is “against wars and conflicts of any kind” and also re-shared his message, which is a political slogan is that asserts of Serbia’s failure to recognise Kosovan independence, with his 12 million Instagram followers.

Jeton Hadergjonaj, who runs the Kosovan Tennis Federation, said it was not the first time Djokovic had “provoked” Kosovo with his comments.

“We have to react,” Hadergjonaj told the Press Association.

“Tomorrow [Wednesday] we will send an official request for Djokovic to be charged, to have a fine.

“We will request from the ITF [International Tennis Federation], the ATP [the men’s professional tour] and the French Tennis Federation [FFT].”

i understands the FFT consider that Djokovic has broken no rules and have no plans to sanction him.

Djokovic said on Monday: “As a public figure, regardless of the area, I feel an obligation to show support for our people and all of Serbia.

“I think many do not know what the future holds for Kosovo, but it is important to show harmony in situations like this.”

He added: “I hear there was a lot of criticism on social media. I don’t know if someone will punish me or something like that, but I would do it again.”

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and is recognised by more than 100 UN member states, including the United Kingdom and France.

But it is still not recognised by the Serbian government and violence has broken out in the north of the country after local elections that were boycotted by many Serbs still living in Kosovo, which is mostly inhabited by ethnic Albanians.

Hadergjonaj added: “He suggested he has roots from Kosovo because his father was born in Kosovo. He lived in the north part and probably you heard now in that part there is some troubles and some of the peacekeepers, international soldiers, were injured because the Serbian people attack them.

“Okay, Djokovic has some connections, he still has some family there I think, and he visited that part. It’s understandable he’s connected with that part.

“But Kosovo is an independent country recognised by the ITF, Tennis Europe and the international community. But he continuously attacks us every time he can do it.

“According to the Olympics charter, the fundamental principle is that sporting organisations within the Olympic movement should apply political neutrality. The ITF is recognised by the International Olympic Committee.”

He also said: “Potentially it will inflame [the situation]. For such a public figure, in this occasion, in this big event and [amid] this Ukraine-Russia war, to give this kind of message is really not helpful. We strongly recommend to our athletes to work for peace.”

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