Australian Open: Tennis Australia bans Russian flag after excitement over first round match

At the Australian Open, Russian and Belarusian flags are now also banned in the spectator stands.

Australian Open: Tennis Australia bans Russian flag after excitement over first round match

At the Australian Open, Russian and Belarusian flags are now also banned in the spectator stands. Tennis Australia was responding to the excitement surrounding the first-round match between victorious Ukraine's Kateryna Baindl and Russia's Kamilla Rakhimova on Monday, when fans presented a Russian flag during the game.

Because pictures of it were widely shared and criticized on social media, the organizers gave up their original stance regarding the national flags for the fans. These were initially allowed on the Melbourne Park grounds as long as they didn't bother anyone. "The ban is effective immediately," Tennis Australia said in a statement on Tuesday. Flags of other countries are still allowed.

Vasyl Miroshnychenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, had criticized social media. He condemned the action "strongly" and called on Tennis Australia to "immediately enforce the 'neutral flag' policy".

Russian and Belarusian tennis players are allowed to start at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, but only under a neutral flag. They were excluded from Wimbledon because of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

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