Tennis: Djokovic continues French Open progress after Kosovo controversy

AFP , Thursday 1 Jun 2023

Novak Djokovic brushed aside the furore surrounding his recent comments about clashes in Kosovo by easing into the French Open third round on Wednesday, then saying they reflected what he "stands for".

Serbia s Novak Djokovic speaks after beating Hungary s Marton Fucsovics during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Photo: AP


Djokovic, who is chasing a men's record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, came through a marathon first set against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics before prevailing 7-6 (7/2), 6-0, 6-3 in the night session on Court Philippe Chatrier.

He had scrawled the message "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence" on a camera following his first-round match on Monday.

"I would say it again, but I don't need to because you have my quotes," said Djokovic on Wednesday.

"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."

There was plenty of drama on the court too during an 87-minute opening set which saw Djokovic broken while he was serving for it.

But eight previous break points saved proved key for the third seed as Djokovic went on to dominate a tie-break.

World number 83 Fucsovics could not maintain his level, though, as Djokovic raced through the next seven games.

Fucsovics rallied by breaking back early in the third set and again when Djokovic served for the match.

But Djokovic wrapped up victory in the next game on his second match point.

The Serb has still not failed to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since the 2017 Australian Open.

The two-time champion will next face Spanish 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a fourth-round place on Friday.

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