Australian Open Bans Flags From Russia, Belarus After Fans Bring Them On Site

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Flags from Russia and Belarus had been banned from the positioning of the Australian Open on Tuesday after a couple of was introduced into the stands by spectators on Day 1 of the 12 months’s first Grand Slam event.

Usually, flags may be displayed throughout matches at Melbourne Park.

However Tennis Australia reversed that coverage for the 2 nations concerned within the invasion of Ukraine that started almost a 12 months in the past.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring (flags) in but could not use them to cause disruption,” Tennis Australia stated in a press release 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 was displayed throughout Ukrainian participant Kateryna Baindl’s 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-1 victory over Russian participant Kamilla Rakhimova on Courtroom 14 within the first spherical on Monday.

One other was provided to Russian participant Daniil Medvedev to autograph after his 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 win over Marcos Giron in Rod Laver Area on Monday night time.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia autographs a Russian flag after defeating Marcos Giron of the U.S. of their first spherical match on the Australian Open.

Requested concerning the new flag ban, Belarusian participant Aryna Sabalenka stated after her first-round victory Tuesday that she would like that politics and sports activities stay separate, however understands the choice by Tennis Australia.

“I mean, if everyone feels better this way, then it’s OK,” stated Sabalenka, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist who’s seeded No. 5 at Melbourne Park. “I have zero control on it. What can I say? They did it. OK. No flags? No flags.”

Sabalenka was among the many athletes from Russia and Belarus who had been barred from competing at Wimbledon and workforce occasions such because the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup final 12 months due to the warfare in Ukraine. Russia invaded, with assist from Belarus, in February.

Russian and Belarusian gamers have been allowed to enter the opposite three Grand Slam tournaments however as “neutral” athletes, so their nationalities should not acknowledged on any official schedules or outcomes for the occasion and their nations’ flags should not displayed on TV graphics.