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Home > Sports > Tennis > Australian Open 2008 > Reuters > Report

Baghdatis defends himself in race controversy

Simon Cambers | January 18, 2008 11:25 IST

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis defended himself in the face of a race controversy on Friday after the release of a video in which he appeared to chant anti-Turkish slogans at a party.

Australian media showed a video of the Cypriot singing songs with friends, a broadcast which was also posted on the video-sharing web site YouTube.

Baghdatis reacted to the news with a statement in which he defended his actions.

"There has been a lot of coverage of me appearing in a video on youtube.com," he said.

"In that video from 2007 I was supporting the interest of my country, Cyprus, while protesting against a situation that is not recognised by the United Nations.

"Now I would like to concentrate on the tournament and ask everyone to respect that. I love the Australian Open and want to do well here."

Baghdatis is due to face Australian Lleyton Hewitt [Images] in the third round of the tournament on Saturday.

Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have shared a troubled history since Cyprus won independence from Britain in 1960.

Turkey invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup and supports a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state there. The United Nations controls a buffer zone separating the two areas.

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.



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