Tennis Australia has rejected calls to ban Russian athletes from the Australian Open due to Russia's ongoing military actions in Ukraine.
Russian and Belarusian players were banned from competing at Wimbledon in 2022, resulting in a $1m fine for the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for tennis in Britain.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko said players from the Russian Federation should be banned as an act of solidarity with Ukrainians.
"Russia manipulates sport and sportspeople to project an image to the world, just as Nazi Germany did. They engage in massive doping programs to buy sporting success as part of their propaganda. When we allow sportspeople from Russia to participate in the Australian Open, we do exactly what Putin wants," Mr Myroshnychenko said.
"It doesn't matter what flag Russian Federation players compete under. It has Ukrainian blood on it."
In 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from international sports competitions for four years after the country was found to be running a years-long, state-sponsored doping scheme.
Tennis Australia said it condemns Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine but has dismissed calls to exclude Russian players from the Open.
"Players from Russia and Belarus are only able to compete in international tennis events as individuals - and without flags or country recognition - which will be the case for Australian Open 2023," an official statement from Tennis Australia said.
President of the Noble Park branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria Liana Slipetsky said Australia should be consistent in its stance on Russia.
"Australia has done so much for Ukraine. But it's a bit fence sitting to say Russia is okay to participate in the democratic free world in activities such as elite tennis, but we'll put sanctions on for other things," she said.
"Half measures avail us of nothing. It should be all in or not at all."
Some experts estimate that since the beginning of the war 200,000 soldiers have been killed on both sides, but casualty figures vary, with Moscow's last update in September stating 5937 Russian troops had been killed since the start of the conflict.
Ambassador Myroshnychenko said at a minimum Russian players should call a media conference to establish what their personal positions on the war on Ukraine are.
He said that if Russian players do not specifically condemn the war, they are collaborators.
Russian player Daniil Medvedev, who is currently ranked number seven in the world, has been asked to comment on the conflict in press conferences but has avoided political statements, instead calling Russia's invasion of Ukraine "very upsetting".
Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Research Fellow at the Australian National University Dr Sonia Mycak said she supports a ban on Russian athletes.
"Cultural and sporting sanctions should accompany economic sanctions, to reinforce the message that Russian aggression is not acceptable in today's world," she said.
"It means a great deal to Ukrainians to see symbolic acts of solidarity from which they draw moral support."
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Serhiy Stakhovsky, former world no. 31, had a successful career which included eight ATP singles. It came to an abrupt end in February when he became a soldier on the front lines in eastern Ukraine.
Ambassador Myroshnychenko cited Stakhovsky's sacrifice in his campaign to lobby Tennis Australia.
"While Tennis Australia gives terrorist Russia a court to perform on, Serhiy Stakhovsky, former world #31 who played his retirement match at last year's Open, has no choice but to defend Western democracy as a front-line Ukrainian soldier," he said.
Dr Mycak stressed that Tennis Australia should consider the sensitivities of Ukrainian refugees.
"The organisers of the Aus Open should also be cognisant of the fact that some 4000 Ukrainian refugees are now residing in Australia and each of them has suffered at the hands of Russian aggression," she said.
The Australian Open begins on January 16.
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