The 2023 Australian Open was plagued by Russian and Belarusian representation on Day 1. Event officials banned Russian and Belarusian flags for the rest of the tournament after spectators repeatedly waved them during matches on the first day.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia urged action and strongly denounced a fan who waved a Russian flag on an outside court.
Tennis Australia formerly permitted spectators to bring flags into stadiums if they didn’t disrupt play. Russia and Belarus players compete under neutral flags and cannot represent their countries.
A courtside fan waved a Russian flag during Monday’s first-round match between Kamilla Rakhimova and Kateryna Baindl on Court 14. Ukrainian ambassador to Australia and New Zealand Vasyl Myroshnychenko strongly disagreed with displaying a Russian flag during a match involving a Ukrainian player. Myroshnychenko advised Tennis Australia.
I strongly deplore the public display of the Russian flag during Kateryna Baindl’s Australian Open match today. “Tennis Australia must immediately implement its “neutral flag” policy,” Myroshnychenko tweeted.
I strongly criticise the Russian flag display during Kateryna Baindl’s Australian Open match today. Tennis Australia should promptly implement its “neutral flag” policy.
Another supporter hoisted a Russian flag during a night session match between Daniil Medvedev and Marcos Giron on Rod Laver Arena.
The Australian Open banned Russian and Belarusian flags on Monday following these incidents.
“Our initial guideline was that supporters may carry them in but could not use them to cause disruption,” Tennis Australia told Yahoo Sports.
“A flag was placed courtside yesterday. Immediate ban. We’ll keep working with players and fans to make tennis fun.” Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk says she’ll shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players at the Australian Open. 2023 Adelaide International 1: Marta Kostyuk.
2023 Adelaide International 1: Marta Kostyuk.
On Monday, Marta Kostyuk defeated 28th seed Amanda Anisimova in the 2023 Australian Open first round. After the match, Kostyuk said she would refuse handshakes with Russian and Belarusian players who have not publicly condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine if she plays them in the tournament.
“On tour, I haven’t changed regarding the conflict and everything,” Kostyuk told Reuters.
Kotsyuk said only Russian and Belarusian players who speak out against the war in her country should compete on tour. She also revealed she never interacts with Russian or Belarusian players.
“Whomever speaks clearly I believe has every right to be on tour but whoever doesn’t… Kostyuk disagreed. I hardly converse. I barely say ‘hi’ to them.”
Kostyuk may face Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the 2023 Australian Open third round.