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Australian Open bans Russian and Belarusian flags

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Russian and Belarusian flags have been banned from the Australian Open Tennis Tournament after a courtside incident.

Spectators were initially permitted to bring the flags into Melbourne Park on the condition they did not cause “disruption”.

“Our initial policy was that fans could bring them in but could not use them to cause disruption,” Tennis Australia wrote.

But the organisers reversed that decision, after fans displayed a Russian flag during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova.

“Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed courtside,” the statement says.

The ban is effective immediately.

The ban comes after Ukrainian Tennis Player Marta Kostyuk said she would not shake hands with opponents from Russia and Belarus who she believes have not done enough to condemn the invasion.

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