Novak Djokovic courted controversy Monday when he wrote “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a camera at the French Open after clashes flared in northern Kosovo amid ethnic tensions. The Belgrade-born tennis superstar wrote the message in Serbian after his opening round victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic on the showpiece Philippe Chatrier Court at Roland Garros. “Kosovo is our cradle, our stronghold, centre of the most important things for our country… There are many reasons why I wrote that on the camera,” 36-year-old Djokovic told Serb media at the tournament.
World number one Carlos Alcaraz admitted he felt “invincible” at times during his straight-sets win over Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli in the French Open first round on Monday.
The 20-year-old, the youngest top seed at Roland Garros since Bjorn Borg in 1976, swept to a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over his 159th-ranked opponent.
US Open champion Alcaraz won the first eight games of Monday’s match and was comfortably two sets up in just 52 minutes.
In the first set alone, he allowed his overwhelmed opponent a meagre 10 points.
“I felt I couldn’t lose a game. I thought that I was able to win easier than I did, but a match can turn around in each game. But at the start of the match, I felt invincible,” he said.
Cobolli, making his Grand Slam debut, rallied briefly in the third set but was unable to take advantage of two break points in the sixth game.
Alcaraz then saw four match points slip away as the Italian hung on to level at 5-5.
However, the Spaniard wrapped up the tie on a fifth match point in the 12th game.
Next up for Alcaraz is a clash with Japan’s Taro Daniel for a place in the last 32.
New York-born Daniel, ranked 112, enjoyed his best Slam at the Australian Open in 2022 where he went to the third round from qualifying and defeated former world number one Andy Murray in the round of 64.
His best run in Paris was a second round appearance in 2017.
Daniel has flourished on hard courts this year — reaching the quarter-finals in Acapulco and second round from qualifying at Indian Wells and Miami.
“I know the level of Taro, so it’s going to be a really tough second round, really tough match,” added Alcaraz.
“So I have to be ready for that, and I have to be prepared for a really tough one.”
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