Australian Open 2023: Russia, Belarus flags banned at Melbourne Park amid ongoing crisis in Ukraine

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Flags of Russia and Belarus will not be allowed at the Australian Open moving forward. This follows numerous flags were brought into the stands at Melbourne Park throughout Day 1 of the Grand Slam competition.

Traditionally, nation flags are permitted to be shown throughout all of the matches at the Australian Open. However, Tennis Australia modified that policy for Russia and Belarus after those nations attacked Ukraine in 2015.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring [flags] in but could not use them to cause disruption,” Tennis Australia stated in a declaration on Tuesday. “Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed courtside. We will continue to work with the players and our fans to ensure that this is the best possible environment to enjoy the tennis.”

One Russian flag might be seen throughout Ukrainian rival Kateryna Baindl’s match versus Russian gamer Kamilla Rakhimova throughout preliminary play on Monday. In addition, Russian star Daniil Medvedev was used a Russian flag to sign following his 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 win over Marcos Giron on Monday night.

Belarusian gamer Aryna Sabalenka was inquired about the brand-new flag policy following his preliminary match. Sabalenka mentioned that she wanted that sports and politics would be different matters, however comprehended why the choice was made.

“I mean, if everyone feels better this way, then it’s OK,” Sabalenka stated. “I have zero control on it. What can I say? They did it. OK. No flags? No flags.”

Russian and Belarusian professional athletes, consisting of Sabalenka, were prohibited from completing at Wimbledon and other occasions such as the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine. Since then, Russian and Belarusian gamers have actually been allowed to go into the other Grand Slam competitions as “neutral” rivals, so that their citizenships aren’t pointed out in any main outcomes.

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