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Djokovic exit and Kosovo gold make it a bleak Games start for Serbia By Thomas Brey, dpa

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Belgrade (dpa) - The first-round exit of men‘s tennis ace Novak Djokovic and a first Olympic gold medal for Kosovo have made it a gloomy start for Serbia at the Rio Games.

"The beginning of the Games could not be blacker for Serbia," Blic, the country‘s largest newspaper, wrote Monday.

Serbia had been banking on a gold medal for Djokovic, but the world‘s top-ranked men‘s player left in tears after a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2) first-round defeat against Argentina‘s Juan Martin del Potro.

That compounded the unwelcome news of a first-ever gold medal for Kosovo, which is making its making its Olympic debut after independence from Serbia and is not recognized by the Serbian government.

Kurir daily wrote: "The painful truth: Kosovo has brought home a medal in the Games before Serbia."

Majlinda Kelmendi‘s judo victory for Kosovo in beating Italy‘s Odette Giuffrida in the final of the 52-kilo category on Sunday was however either ignored or kept to a small story on the back pages by Serbia media.

That Kosovo is a sore spot for Serbia was clearly demonstrated by Sports Minister Vanja Udovicic, who had advised athletes to leave an award ceremony in protest if they had to share the podium with a Kosovan competitor.

Another Serbian tennis hope, Viktor Trocki, also went out, saying that Kosovo is "an invented country."

Because of so much politics is being played at the expense of sport, Serbian journalist Boris Jovanovic quipped on Twitter: "What are the objectives of Serbia in the Games? The important thing is that we prevent the Serbian canoeist falling in love with the Kosovo judo athlete"



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