Outrage as Russian flag is flown during Australian Open match between Ukraine and Russian players
| Last updated
We're only into our first day of action at the Australian Open and there has already been some controversy.
Anger has been sparked after a Russian flag was being flown during a match between players from the warring nations of Ukraine and Russia.
Images of the red, white and blue flag have spread like wildfire online, forcing Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia to come out and condemn its use.
During the opening round clash between Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova and Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl, a Russian flag could be seen hanging off a bush while two spectators sit in front of it.
It's understood the flag was visible throughout the entire broadcast.
With Vladimir Putin's Russian forces still invading Ukraine, the nation's athletes have been sanctioned in a variety of ways.
Some have been given blanket bans, such as in the World Cup, and others have been forced to compete under a neutral flag.
The war also means any display of the country, meaning flags of any sort, are strictly prohibited.
I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during the game of the Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open today. I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its “neutral flag” policy. @TennisAustralia @AustralianOpen pic.twitter.com/zw8pLN4FIF— Vasyl Myroshnychenko (@AmbVasyl) January 16, 2023
So upon seeing the Russian symbol at the Australian Open, especially while a Ukrainian athlete was competing, the nation's Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko took to social media to have his say.
“I strongly condemn the public display of the Russian flag during the game of the Ukrainian tennis player Kateryna Baindl at the Australian Open today,” he tweeted.
“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its “neutral flag” policy.”
Others also joined in with slamming the move.
One person replied: "Extremely hateful display."
While another added: "That is disgraceful, kick them out and ban them for life."
As an Aussie said: Ashamed my country has let Russians play at the open this year…. @AlboMP @DanielAndrewsMP."
Myroshnychenko has been vocal in his opposition of Russia and any of its supporters.
Just last week he called upon the Australian Open to ban Russian and Belarusian tennis players entirely, following suit with what Wimbledon officials did last year.