Novak Djokovic’s statement at the French Open that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” did not violate any rules because the Grand Slam rule book does not ban political statements, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Wednesday.
The world number three wrote the message on a camera lens after his first-round victory 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.
Kosovo's tennis federation on Tuesday accused Djokovic of aggravating an already tense situation, comments echoed by the Kosovo Olympic Committee earlier on Wednesday.
The ITF, the governing body of world tennis, said it had received and acknowledged a letter from the Kosovo tennis federation and had forwarded it to “the relevant Grand Slam authority”.
“Rules for player conduct at a Grand Slam event are governed by the Grand Slam rule book, administered by the relevant organiser and regulator. There is no provision in this that prohibits political statements,” an ITF spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Djokovic is in action later on Wednesday when he takes on Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.