By Alberto Amalfi | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Novak Djokovic accepts his Grand Slam quest comes wtih controversy and major drama.
Launching his quest for a 23rd major championship, Djokovic created controversy–and drew a rebuke from a French government official.
After his Roland Garros first-round win, Djokovic wrote on a camera lens, “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence.”
That political statement was the Serbian superstar’s commentary on the recent clash in Kosovo between the Albanian majority and Serbian minority.
French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera slammed Djokovic’s statement as “inappropriate”, “very political” and “militant.”
“Clearly, it was not appropriate,” Oudéa-Castera told France Channel 2. “[Djokovic’s comment] does not have to be repeated because there is a principle of neutrality.”
Asked if he considered the consequences of his words and the drama they could create, Djokovic said drama “drives me as well.”
The third-seeded Djokovic said he accepts a drama-free Slam doesn’t exist for him.
“I don’t mind saying that. I mean, 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 the media at Roland Garros. “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. You know, drama-free Grand Slam (smiling), I don’t think it can happen for me. You know, I guess that drives me, as well.”
Following some first-set drama, Djokovic charged through 12 of the final 15 games defeating Marton Fucsovics 7-6(2), 6-0, 6-3 to reach the Roland third round for the 18th consecutive year.
The third-seeded Serbian will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a spot in the fourth round.
Stunning the Monaco establishment 🤴
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 12, 2022
Djokovic has won two of three meetings vs. the 29th-seeded Spaniard with Davidovich Fokina’s win coming on read clay at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters.
Photo credit: Getty