Lola was the name of this onlooker. She was sitting with a Ukrainian flag draped over her shoulders and is a local to the Mason, OH, location of the #CincyTennis tournament. Lola topped her outfit off with a vinok, a traditional floral wreath crown worn in Ukraine. Lola was watching the game without comment. pic.twitter.com/QREW5tSBRb 15 August 2022 — Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg)
Following this, Lane got out of his seat and confronted Lola, telling her that her behavior was “not nice.”
According to Rothenberg, in response, Lola said, “[i]t’s not nice to invade a country,” an obvious reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for nearly six months.
Hours later, video of the incident surfaced online (thanks to @trashytennis on Twitter: pic.twitter.com/bYlFL38L9X). The 15th of August, 2022, as tweeted by Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg)
After things heated up further, Lola decided to leave the game. Later, security located her and informed her that her flag exceeded the maximum allowable size by 18 square inches, despite the fact that this regulation is rarely, if ever, enforced.
Lola then reduced the size of her flag to comply, but security still made her go out to the parking lot and leave it there.
When asked for clarification, the tournament pointed to the flag size regulation. The WTA has ignored Rothenberg’s request for comment.
Kalinskaya won 7-5 and 6-1 to sweep Potapova in two sets. It’s not clear who voiced concerns first or how the other responded.
In recent months, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and the incident on Sunday is the most recent example of this. Earlier this year, Wimbledon organizers barred Russian and Belarusian players from participating in the tournament, and the WTA and ATP responded by not counting the tournament toward their respective rankings. On both tours, Russian players have been given permission to compete, but they must do so while representing a neutral country.
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