Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has “strongly condemn[ed]” the Russian flag being 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 permitted to play at the Australian Open but must do so “without flags or country recognition.”
“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,” Vasyl Myroshnychenko wrote on Twitter on Monday, alongside a photo showing the flag on display.
“I call on Tennis Australia to immediately enforce its ‘neutral flag’ policy.”
It’s unclear who was responsible for displaying the flag during the match.
An agency photo also shows the Russian flag on display in the stands during the first-round match between Daniil Medvedev and USA’s Marcos Giron.
CNN has contacted Tennis Australia but did not immediately receive a response.
Baindl went on to win the match 7-5 6-7(10-8) 6-1 and will face American Caty McNally in the second round.
Tennis’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a point of controversy over the past year.
Last year, Wimbledon organizers banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing 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 in the face of what they deemed “discrimination” towards Russian and Belarusian players.
After her first-round victory at the Australian Open, Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk said she will not shake hands with rivals from Russia and Belarus, who she feels have not done enough to speak out against the invasion.