Russian flag at Australian Open condemned by Ukrainian ambassador

The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia has condemned the display of a Russian flag at a first-round match at the Australian Open.

Vasyl Myroshnychenko tweeted a picture showing the Russian flag being held up by a spectator during the clash between Russian Kamilla Rakhimova and Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine at Melbourne Park on Monday.

Russian players are allowed to compete in the tournament but only under a neutral flag.

Myroshnychenko wrote: “I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during the game of the Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open today. I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its “neutral flag” policy.”

Baindl moved through to the second round with a 7-5 6-7 (8) 6-1 victory.

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The move comes after Australian Open TV displayed neutral flags on their coverage for players from Russia and Belarus.

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and Belarus pair Aryna Sabalenka, the No 5 seed, and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka were among those affected.

“Players from Russia and Belarus are only able to compete in international tennis events as individuals – and without flags or country recognition – which will be the case for Australian Open 2023,” Tennis Australia said in a statement to WWOS.

“Tennis Australia stands united with the international governing bodies of tennis - the grand slams, the ATP and WTA Tours and the ITF - in its condemnation of Russia’s actions and its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” it said.