The Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia “strongly condemned[ed]the Russian flag displayed in the stands at the Australian Open.
The flag was seen during the first round match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova in Melbourne.
In light of the war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been allowed to play at the Australian Open, but must do so “without country flags or recognition”.
“I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl’s match at the Australian Open today,” Vasyl Myroshnychenko said. wrote on Twitter on Monday, alongside a photo showing the flag on display.
“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately implement its ‘neutral flag’ policy.”
It is unclear who was responsible for displaying the flag during the game.
An agency photo also shows the Russian flag displayed in the stands during the first-round match between Daniil Medvedev and American Marcos Giron.
CNN contacted Tennis Australia but received no immediate response.
Baindl won the match 7-5 6-7(10-8) 6-1 and will face American Caty McNally in the second round.
Tennis’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a controversial topic over the past year.
Last year, Wimbledon organizers banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in the tournament in the face of “unjustified and unprecedented military aggression”, according to a statement released in April.
The ATP and WTA Tours, the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis, later responded by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points over what they saw as “discrimination” towards Russian and Belarus players.
Following her Australian Open first-round victory, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk said she would not shake hands with rivals Russia and Belarus, who she says have not done enough to denounce the invasion.