Australian Open takes action after public display of Russian flag at Melbourne Park

Tennis Australia has announced that the Russian and Belarusian flags have been banned onsite at the Australian Open. 

On Monday, Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl was playing Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia in the Australian Open first round.

During the match, the Russian flag was publicly displayed on the court. 

“Flags from Russia and Belarus are banned onsite at the Australian Open. Our initial policy was that fans could bring them in but could not use them to cause disruption. Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed courtside. The ban is effective immediately. We will continue to work with the players and our fans to ensure the best possible environment to enjoy the tennis,” a statement read. 

The Australian Open takes action and bans the Russian, Belarusian flags

Vasyl Myroshnychenko, who is the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, condemned the public display of the Russian flag at Melbourne Park.

Through his Twitter account, Myroshnychenko called for Tennis Australia to take action and prevent that from happening again during this year’s tournament. 

“I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during the game of the Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open today. I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its ‘neutral flag’ policy,” Myroshnychenko tweeted.

Meanwhile, Russian and Belarusian players have been playing as “neutrals” since last March. 

When the Russian aggression on Ukraine started, the ATP and WTA decided to allow Russian and Belarusian players to continue competing but not under the name or flag of those two respective countries.

The ATP and WTA allowed Russian and Belarusian players to continue competing in international events but Russia and Belarusia were denied participation in team events such as the Davis Cup Finals and Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

Also, all tournaments in Russia were immediately suspended on all levels.

So far, Wimbledon has been the only tournament that has denied Russian and Belarusian players to compete due to the situation in Ukraine.