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Tennis Australia Bans Display Of Russian And Belarusian Flags At Australian Open

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January 17, (THEWILL) – Tennis Australia has banned the display of the Russian and Belarusian flags at the Australian Open, after Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia “strongly condemned” the Russian flag being displayed in the stands at the Grand Slam.

In a statement, Tennis Australia said that flags from Russia and Belarus were banned onsite at the Australian Open and that an incident where a flag was placed courtside was the reason for the ban, which is effective immediately.

The ban comes as Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk has said she will not shake hands with rivals from Russia and Belarus. Belarus has come under increased pressure in sports because it has sided with Russia and allowed Russian troops to use their bases in furtherance of their attacks on Ukraine.

While many International Federations have banned competitors from Russia and Belarus, following the invasion of Ukraine, tennis authorities have ruled that players from the two countries may play as neutrals, and the Australian Open permits them to compete “without flags or country recognition.”