Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia condemns the display of the Russian flag at the Australian Open | CNN
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has “strongly condemned[ed]” the Russian flag displayed in the stands at the Australian Open.
The flag was seen during the first round match between Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine and Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia in Melbourne.
In light of the war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been allowed to play at the Australian Open, but must do so “without flags or country recognition.”
“I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl’s match at the Australian Open today,” Vasyl Myroshnychenko wrote on Twitter on Monday, along with a photo showing the flag on display.
“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its ‘neutral flag’ policy.”
It is not clear who was responsible for displaying the flag during the match.
An agency photo also shows the Russian flag displayed in the stands during the first round match between Daniil Medvedev and American Marcos Giron.
CNN contacted Tennis Australia but did not immediately receive a response.
Baindl won the match 7-5 6-7 (10-8) 6-1 and will face American Caty McNally in the second round.
Tennis’s response to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has been a point of contention for the past year.
Last year, Wimbledon organizers banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the tournament in the face of “unjustified and unprecedented military aggression,” according to a statement released in April.
The ATP and WTA Tours, the governing bodies for men’s and women’s tennis, later responded by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points in the face of what they called “discrimination” against Russian and Belarusian players.
After her victory in the first round of the Australian Open, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk said she will not shake hands with her rivals from Russia and Belarus, who she feels have not done enough to speak out against the invasion.