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Russian and Belarusian flags are prohibited from the Australian Open.

Russian and Belarusian flags are prohibited from the Australian Open.

Following a courtside altercation, the Australian Open tennis tournament has prohibited the use of the Russian and Belarusian flags.

The flags could be brought inside Melbourne Park by spectators as long as they don’t “disrupt” the event.

But on Tuesday, after spectators waved a Russian flag during a match between
Russian Kamilla Rakhimova and Ukrainian Kateryna Baindl, the organizers changed
their minds.

The prohibition is in force right away.

Earlier, Tennis Australia had been urged to take action by the ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand.

Since the invasion of Ukraine started in February of last year, athletes from Russia and Belarus have been prohibited from competing under the flags of their nations in a variety of sports, including tennis.

While athletes from the two nations compete at the Australian Open under a neutral
white flag, they were completely barred from Wimbledon in 2022.

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The Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association later
punished the organizers and took away the tournament’s ranking points. According to the WTA, competitors’ rights to fair opportunities to compete as individuals must be upheld.

On Tuesday, the Victorian state government praised Tennis Australia for its wise
choice.

The prohibition follows Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk’s declaration that she would refuse to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian opponents because she feels they haven’t done enough to denounce the invasion.

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