Speaking to reporters at the Serbia Open, the world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic slammed the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it “crazy.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion said that he will always condemn war, being himself a child of war. He explained how much emotional trauma war had left in Serbia, where he grew up. He said the Serbians all knew well what was happening in 1999. Djokovic went on to say that there have been many wars in the Balkans in recent history, and ordinary people always suffer the most.
Despite acknowledging the atrocities of war and its long-term emotional impacts, Djokovic was firm in his position about condemning the decision of Wimbledon. He did not see tennis players, or athletes in general, having anything to do with war. “When politics interfere with sport, it does not turn out well,” he said.