Australian Open 2023: The Australian Open prohibits the flags of Russia and Belarus | Sports

Fans watch the match between Rakhimova and Baindl, with the Russian flag in the background.
Fans watch the match between Rakhimova and Baindl, with the Russian flag in the background.Asanka Brendon Ratnayake (AP)

It happened during the match on Monday between the Russian Kamila Rakhimova and the Ukrainian Kateryna Baindl, on one of the outdoor courts, 14 Melbourne Park. A group of four fans hung a Russian flag on a hedge and the complaint from another reached tournament security, which did not intervene but did inform the Australian federation, which set off the alarm the next day at the request of the Ukrainian ambassador in the city, Vasyl Myroshnychenko: that flag is prohibited and also that of Belarus, the two countries noted in the world of tennis since the beginning of the military offensive ordered by Vladimir Putin on Ukraine.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring them, as long as they were not used as a provocation. Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed next to the court,” Tennis Australia said in a statement. “We will continue working with the players and our fans to guarantee the best possible environment to enjoy tennis”, the federative body continued in the note issued this Tuesday, the day on which the heat – up to 36º, with a thermal sensation of 39º – forced to stop the action on the outdoor courts for four hours, as well as to suspend the training program.

In line with the rest of the tournaments on the circuit, the Australian Open allows players of both nationalities to compete, but they must do so without a flag, independently; that is to say, it does not appear in the official labels and neither can they make any reference. However, the prohibition had not been applied to the fans and the morning clash took place on Court 14, accompanied by a second scene in the night session, when two of the fans present in that first match once again displayed the Russian flag. on center court to cheer on world number seven, Daniil Medvedev, during his clash with Chilean Cristian Garin.

Specifically, one of them was also wearing a “Mother Russia” T-shirt in which an image of Putin was seen riding on a horse and with devil horns, according to the newspaper. The Age. “There was no lack of respect,” said this fan, a 36-year-old Muscovite, in statements collected by said newspaper. “I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce their privacy policy. neutral flag”, denounced the Ukrainian ambassador.

Given the situation, the tournament management has ended up intervening and from now on it will not be possible to show the colors of those countries that, it should be remembered, were completely banned in the last edition of Wimbledon, where the participation of their representatives was prohibited.

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