Last Updated: January 17, 2023, 16:25 IST
Ukrainian tennis participant Oleksii Krutykh advised AFP on Tuesday anybody displaying a Russian flag on the Australian Open must be banned, saying: “My pals are dying.”
Organiser Tennis Australia has banned Russian and Belarusian flags at the Grand Slam after Ukraine’s ambassador demanded action when they were seen among the crowd at Melbourne Park.
The red, white and blue stripes of Russia were held up in the crowd during Monday’s first-round clash between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova.
Russian and Belarusian tennis players have normally competed under a neutral white flag as independents since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as is the case at the Australian Open.
Belarus is a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Krutykh said he and other Ukrainian players at the tournament were “shocked” by what they noticed at Baindl’s match, which she gained.
A Russian flag was additionally unfurled on Rod Laver Arena throughout Daniil Medvedev’s conflict with American Marcos Giron.
“It’s not truthful what they’re doing,” Krutykh, 22, told AFP after his first-round defeat to Argentine 23rd seed Diego Schwartzman.
“I think that the guys that did it (during Baindl’s match)… I think they are Russians who live here so they don’t care about what is going on in my country.”
Krutykh, who’s ranked 188 on this planet and was the one Ukrainian within the males’s singles draw, absolutely helps the ban on Russian and Belarusian flags.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
A Russian missile strike on a block of flats within the metropolis of Dnipro on the weekend killed not less than 41 individuals, one of many deadliest assaults for the reason that invasion.
“My Ukranian pals are in hassle, persons are dying there, however they don’t realize it,” Krutykh said of Australian Open spectators with Russian flags.
“I think they did it for fun, but they are stupid. I think that Tennis Australia should ban the people that do it.”
Krutykh was significantly damage when he noticed a person sporting a T-shirt of Putin.
“He is a man who’s killing hundreds of individuals and there’s a man sporting his T-shirt,” said Krutykh.
– Playing with pride –
There were Ukrainian flags in the crowd as Krutykh battled bravely to defeat against Schwartzman, the Argentine winning 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
“I have no idea how I am here playing tennis,” stated Krutykh.
“When the warfare began I used to be outdoors Ukraine enjoying tournaments and I stated to myself I’ve no different selection, I must play.
“There is just one factor I can do, so I’ve been making an attempt to push myself a bit extra.
“I used to be telling myself the individuals I do know in Ukraine are combating for my nation, I must struggle additionally on court docket. It’s a part of the battle.”
Krutykh is from Kyiv and his mother is still in the Ukrainian capital. He has lived in Berlin since March last year and not been back to his homeland since the war started.
“A good friend of mine helped me with a tennis club there (Berlin), so I play there, I practise there, I live there in that club.
“I was lucky that I got in Berlin, otherwise I know stories from other Ukrainian players because they don’t know where to train, where to live,” he stated.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 workers and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)