"Hang the Serbs. Never forget, never forgive."
This is the translation of the transparent above. I'm a Serb born in Croatia and I can understand the hate between our people, but I can never understand when somebody involve politics in sport!
And I understand, that we can not blame the whole country for the actions of one man, or group of people, but it's really ugly to see things like this. This was seen on the streets of Split yesterday morning before the matches started.
There were some ugly moments in the Spaladium arena too, where Croatia's fans booed and jeered and refused to stand when Serbia's national anthem was played, and some chanted "Kill the Serb" and other abuse at Djokovic.
Novak, who beat Ivan Ljubicic 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-1 in the first rubber of this tension-filled tie said:
"We had expected the heated atmosphere before we came here, but I'm sorry that some fans behaved the way they did at the start of the match. As the match progressed, things got a bit cooler probably because I was leading."
Ljubicic, a good friend of Djokovic, said he was also annoyed by the chants from the crowd.
"They affected my concentration just as they did his," he said.
"It was strange to see guys, the crowd, whistling on Serbian anthem and the players and so loud on ours. You could feel the tension; you could feel the emotion so it was really difficult for me to play the first couple of games."
Despite the atmosphere in the Spaladium Arena, Novak was just happy that he won:
“It’s sensitive circumstances that we play in and considering the situation between the two countries that they had 20 years back and, of course, it’s still very fresh [in the mind],” he said.
"“We are professional athletes and tennis players and we don’t involve politics in sport. We want to perform our best four the country and win; that’s what I did today and in the end I got a nice appreciation from the crowd for what I have done today so this is what I remember from the match.”
Congrats to Nole and to both of the teams for playing good tennis and for being fair. I hope things like this will stop one day eventually.
(source: GOTOTENNIS, Davis Cup, Pressonline)