Why was a fan at WTA Cincinnati ejected over Ukraine flag?
The fan was expelled during a match between Russia’s Anastasia Potapova and Anna Kalinskaya after complaints about a large Ukrainian flag on court.
A first-round match at the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati between Russian players Anastasia Potapova and Anna Kalinskaya was briefly halted when a fan who was watching the game was ejected from the court for unveiling a large Ukraine flag.
Lola, the fan in question, was ordered to leave the court after one of the two Russian players complained to the chair umpire about the presence of the Ukraine flag in the stands.
In an interview with Local 12 News, Lola gave her version of events after the match was twice suspended due to her protest. “The chair umpire told me that I wasn’t being nice and that I had to put the flag away. They told me that I was harassing Russian tennis players. I said I wasn’t going to put it way. They kept playing for a couple of minutes and, after stopping the game again, the security guard told me: ‘Ma’am, if you don’t leave, I’m going to call the police.’”
Cincinnati organizers say size of flag the issue
However, the organizers of the Western & Southern Open, which hosts both the ATP Masters and the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati, issued a statement justifying the removal of the flag due to its size. “As stated on the tournament website, flags and banners larger than 18x18 inches (46x46 centimeters) are prohibited. [The fan] was therefore asked to remove the flag and, after doing so, was allowed to remain at the tournament”.