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"Kosovo is the heart of Serbia", the Olympic Committee calls for disciplinary measures against Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic

"Kosovo is the heart of Serbia", the Olympic Committee calls for

The Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOK) has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to take disciplinary measures against Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic. On Monday, Djokovic left a political message on camera at the French Open in response to the violent clashes in Kosovo, writing in Serbian:

"Kosovo is Serbia's [heart symbol]. Stop the violence!"

In a letter written by IOC president Ismet Krasniqi to the IOC, the IOC said that Djokovic's message "violates the fundamental principle of the IOC's statute on the point of political neutrality and constitutes another political statement in sport." . CNN has reached out to Djokovic's representative for comment. The KOK claimed that Djokovic:

"It again promoted the propaganda of Serbian nationalists and used the sports platform to do so, thereby increasing the level of tension and violence between the two countries, Kosovo and Serbia."

"Kosovo is the heart of Serbia", the Olympic Committee calls for

Tensions have risen in the past week in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. There were clashes with protesters on Monday after ethnic Albanian mayors took office in northern Kosovo, a Serb-majority area of ​​Kosovo, following April elections that Serbs of Kosovo had boycotted them. Djokovic elaborated on his message in Serbian at a press conference this week, saying:

"This is the least I could have done. I feel the responsibility as a public figure, it doesn't matter in which field, to give support. Especially as the son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to give my support to our people and for all of Serbia. I don't know, and I think many others don't know what the future holds for Kosovo and the Serbian people, but it is necessary to show support and show unity in these kinds of situations."

"Kosovo is the heart of Serbia", the Olympic Committee calls for

Djokovic's reference to "the whole of Serbia" reflects the policy of the Serbian government, which still considers Kosovo an integral part of its territory and has not recognized the country's independence. Krasniqi warned that, unless action is taken against Djokovic, it sets a dangerous precedent that sport can be used as a platform for political messages. He added:

"I respectfully request that the IOC react within its framework and ask the ITF to follow the principles set out in the Olympic Charter and investigate this matter by opening disciplinary proceedings against the athlete."

CNN reached out to the ITF and IOC for comment on the matter, but did not immediately receive a response. Djokovic plays in the second round of the French Open against Hungary's Márton Fucsovics on Wednesday.

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