Former doubles number one Kristina Mladenovic has backed Novak Djokovic over his controversial Kosovo remarks.
It was supposed to be a very peaceful day in Paris when Novak Djokovic started off his Roland Garros campaign. It proved anything but that as Djokovic gave the Roland Garros organizers quite a headache by writing a controversial and political message regarding Kosovo on camera after his win.
Naturally, it received mixed reactions on social media as it is a complicated topic that is framed differently depending on where you're from. If you walk down the street in Belgrade and ask about Kosovo, you'll probably get a very different reaction compared to what you'll get in Washington, London, or Paris for that matter.
Only partially recognised as an independent country though openly embraced by the majority of the countries, Kosovo launched a formal complaint against Djokovic due to the provocation. No fine was handed out by the Roland Garros organizers as technically no rules were broken but his action was called out by the French Sports Minister.
That Minister should probably look away now as Djokovic's message was backed by French tennis player Kristina Mladenovic, who has Serbian roots. In a talk with the Serbian publication Telegraf, Mladenovic repeated the same slogan used by Djokovic as her father, much like Djokovic's was born in the now-independent country.
Yes, I share Novak's position, Kosovo is the heart of Serbia for me as well. My father is from Gjilane (a town in Kosovo and Metohija), my grandmother lived there and I was there when I was a child.
She's not the only active tennis player that defended Djokovic as Murray did the same explaining that players should be allowed to express opinions. Djokovic himself maintained that his message was that of solidarity with the Serbian people living there after civil unrest disturbed the peace there and not some political statement. Mladenovic further questioned the 'political' tag that was used when describing it.
Many people are allowed to talk about Russia and Ukraine, everyone has an opinion, but that's not political. On the other hand, this, this is political?