The flags of Russia and Belarus were banned. From the site of the Australian Open on Tuesday. After spectators were brought into many stands on Day 1 of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Flags can be displayed during matches at Melbourne Park. But Tennis Australia reversed. That policy for the two countries involved in the aggression in Ukraine that began a year ago.
“Our initial policy was that fans could bring (flags). But not use them to cause disruption,” Tennis Australia said in a statement on Tuesday. “Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was planted on the side of the court. We will continue to work with the players and our fans to ensure. It is the best possible environment to enjoy tennis.”
A Russian flag was displayed as Ukrainian Kateryna Bendl defeated. Russian Kamila Rakhimova 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-1 on Court 14 in the first round on Monday.
Russian Daniil Medvedev was offered an autograph. After his 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 win over Marcos Giron at Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.
Asked about the new flag ban, Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka said. After her first-round win on Tuesday that she would prefer that politics. And sport remain separate, but understands Tennis Australia’s decision.
“I mean, if everybody feels good like that, then fine.” Said Sabalenka, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist who is seeded No. 5 at Melbourne Park. “I have zero control over it. what can i say They did it. All right. No flag? No flag.”
Sabalenka was among athletes from Russia and Belarus. Who were prevented from competing in team events such. As Wimbledon and the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup last year because of the war in Ukraine. In February Russia invaded with the help of Belarus.
Russian and Belarusian players are allowed into the other three Grand Slam tournaments. But as “neutral” athletes, so their nationalities are not recognized in any official schedule or event results. And their country’s flag is not displayed in TV graphics.