Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz cruised into the French Open third round on Wednesday, but all the focus was on Novak Djokovic as a political row sparked by the two-times Roland Garros champion intensified.

Djokovic remained the hot topic as the fallout from his statement this week that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” continued before his 7-6(2) 6-0 6-3 second-round victory over Marton Fucsovics.

Unlike after his opening match on Monday, however, there was no message on the camera lens the Serbian signed and the 22-times Grand Slam champion looked to draw a line under the issue.

“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,” Djokovic told a news conference.

Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and was deported from the country due to being unvaccinated for COVID. He won the Melbourne title this year despite a row that erupted after his father posed with some fans holding Russian flags.

“A drama-free Grand Slam, I don’t think it can happen for me,” Djokovic added. “I guess that drives me, as well.”

Tsitsipas, chasing his first Grand Slam title, made a sluggish start to his campaign against Jiri Vesely but the fifth seed looked back to his best against Roberto Carballes Baena, as he overcame a wobble to beat the Spaniard 6-3 7-6(4) 6-2.

Top seed Alcaraz resumed his quest for a second Grand Slam title with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-2 win over Japan’s Taro Daniel on a windy afternoon to book a third-round date with Canadian 26th seed Denis Shapovalov.

Djokovic, however, remained the talk of Roland Garros. Kosovo Olympic authorities asked the International Olympic Committee to open disciplinary proceedings against him.

“Djokovic has yet again promoted the Serbian nationalists’ propaganda and used the sport platform to do so,” said Ismet Krasniqi, the president of Kosovo’s Olympic Committee.

“The further post-match statements made by such a public figure without any feeling of remorse directly result in raising the level of tension and violence between the two countries.”

France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said the message sent by Djokovic was “not appropriate”, although the International Tennis Federation which governs the game globally said the world number three had not violated any rule.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis came through a rollercoaster clash against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka with a 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 victory and seventh seed Andrey Rublev beat Corentin Moutet 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-3.


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