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The flags of Russia and Belarus have been banned at the Australian Open

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The flags of Russia and Belarus have been banned at the Australian Open after an incident on the first day of the tournament.
The flags of Russia and Belarus have been banned at the Australian Open

The flags of Russia and Belarus have been banned at the Australian Open after an incident on the first day of the tournament.

In a statement, Tennis Australia said they were working to ensure the “best possible environment” for players and spectators.

The context

On Monday, Russian Kamilla Rakhimova played Ukrainian Kateryna Baindl in the first round of the Women’s Singles draw.

During the match, a Russian flag was hung on the sidelines of the court.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, condemned the display of the Russian flag, and called on Tennis Australia to ensure it would not happen again.

The Russian flag seen during the first round match between Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova and Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl. Image: AAP/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake.

The response

On Tuesday, Tennis Australia announced that the national flags of Russia and its ally Belarus would be banned after yesterday’s incident.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring them in but could not use them to cause disruption.”

The ban is effective immediately.

Playing under the flag

Russian and Belarusian players aren’t allowed to play under their flag, meaning they aren’t officially representing any nation at the tournament.

This has been common in tennis tournaments across the world following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

The restriction was taken a step further at the Wimbledon tournament last year, when players from the two countries were banned from participating in the grand slam.

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