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Russian and Belarusian flags banned from Australian Open venues

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Russian and Belarusian flags have been banned from the Australian Open on Tuesday after multiple was introduced into the stands by spectators on the primary day of the Grand Slam event.

Usually, nationwide flags could be displayed throughout matches at Melbourne Park. However Tennis Australia reversed that coverage for the 2 international locations concerned within the invasion of Ukraine that started practically a yr in the past.

“Our preliminary coverage was that followers may deliver (flags) in however couldn’t use them to trigger disruption,” Tennis Australia stated in an announcement on Tuesday. 

“Yesterday we had an incident the place a flag was positioned courtside. We’ll proceed to work with the gamers and our followers to make sure that that is the very best setting to benefit from the tennis.”

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One Russian flag was displayed throughout Ukrainian participant Kateryna Baindl’s victory over Russian participant Kamilla Rakhimova at Court docket 14 within the first spherical on Monday.

One other was provided to Russian participant Daniil Medvedev to autograph after his win over US nationwide Marcos Giron in Rod Laver Enviornment on Monday evening.

Requested concerning the new flag ban, Belarusian participant Aryna Sabalenka stated after her first-round victory Tuesday that she would like that politics and sports activities stay separate however understands the choice by Tennis Australia.

“I imply, if everybody feels higher this fashion, then it is OK,” stated Sabalenka, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist who’s seeded No. 5 at Melbourne Park. 

“I’ve zero management on it. What can I say? They did it. OK. No flags? No flags.”

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Sabalenka was among the many athletes from Russia and Belarus who have been barred from competing at Wimbledon and workforce occasions such because the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup final yr due to the battle in Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, with assist from Belarus.

Russian and Belarusian gamers have been allowed to enter the opposite three Grand Slam tournaments, however solely as “impartial” athletes. 

Their nationalities will not be acknowledged on any official schedules or outcomes for the occasion, and their international locations’ flags will not be displayed on TV graphics.

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