Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina has backed Novak Djokovic after the latter grabbed the headlines with his political message at the 2023 French Open. The Serb stirred controversy with his political comments following his first-round match against Aleksandar Kovacevic at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic sent a message of empathy for the people of Kosovo and this annoyed Serbian citizens who have an ethnic conflict with their Albanian population. Following his first round match at the French Open, Novak Djokovic stated that the political message was the least he could have done as a responsible public figure. He also pledged his continuous support for the Kosovans irrespective of the potential backlash.
“This is the least I could have done. I feel the responsibility as a public figure – doesn’t matter in which field – to give support. Especially as a son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to give my support to them and to Serbia,” he said during a press conference.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen – I heard that there have been many objections on social media – whether I will be punished … I am not holding back, I would do it again,” the Serb asserted.
Elina Svitolina backs Novak Djokovic’s comments
It has come to light that Svitolina who has been vocal for her country’s cause amidst the Russo-Ukrainian war, has backed the Serbian for his valiant message.
During a recent press conference at the French Open, Svitolina opined that people have the right to take a stance and freely share their opinions.
“Well, we are living in the free world, so why not to say your opinion on something? I feel like if you stand for something, you think that this is the way, you should say,” Svitolina said. “I mean, if you are with a friend sitting, talking, you’re going to say your opinion, he is going to say his opinion. So why not?”
Svitolina further stated that sports and politics are connected.
“You know, coming back to the politics in sports, as I think all Ukrainians mention, that it’s connected very much because we are all people,” she continued. “We all know the politics of your own country little bit, the way you hear something here, something there. For me it’s just part of human life, politics, sports, you know, different things. Yeah, it’s like that.”
Novak Djokovic will next face Marton Fucsovics in the second round on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Svitolina has also advanced to the French Open third round following her comeback win over Storm Sanders on Wednesday, May 31.