Following a courtside incident, organizers prohibited Russian flags at the Australian Open

Following a diplomatic concern that resulted from spectators flying the Russian flag courtside at many matches on day one, Tennis Australia has banned the flags of Russia and Belarus from the Australian Open.

Photo: Getty Images

Vasyl Myroshnychenko, the ambassador of Ukraine to Australia, had urged organizers to take action when supporters of Kamilla Rakhimova flew Russian flags during her match against Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine on Monday.

Police and security were summoned to court 14 by Ukrainian fans, but they did nothing. Tuesday morning, Tennis Australia announced that Russian and Belarusian flags would no longer be flown at Melbourne Park, starting immediately.

Since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, the tennis community has debated how to handle Russian players for almost a year. Last year, Wimbledon in Britain forbade Russian and Belarusian competitors, which prompted the circuit to deduct the tournament’s ranking points.

The athletes are permitted to compete as independent players rather than national representatives of Tennis Australia. A white or neutral flag is shown next to the players’ names instead of the Russian flag.

Stefan Romaniw, the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations, stated earlier that it was inappropriate for Tennis Australia to let the flag be raised since “these are not normal times” before the crowd flag ban was announced.

Anika Wells, the federal sports minister, was also called for comment.

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