Romania’s Simona Halep was expected to play in the Palermo Open in August but there are question-marks now over her participation.
This follows reports of tightening rules around tourists coming over from Romania into Italy because of the sudden spike in the number of cases of coronavirus in the country. As a result, the 28-year-old Halep might face problems travelling to Palermo for the competition.
Scheduled to be played as the first tournament on the resumption of the tour, the Palermo Open kick-starts from August 3.
Romania has seen a sharp surge of cases in recent times, hitting 1000+ cases in a day for the first time on July 22 since the pandemic hit.
With Italy having struggled to contain the virus in March and seeing more than 6000 cases a day at one point that month, it has rallied remarkably well to contain the illness. Currently, the number of cases reported in the country have been reduced to just 250/day.
The tournament’s organisers are hopeful the government will allow an exemption for Halep and other tennis players.
Oliviero Palma, the Palermo Open director, has written to the Health Minister Roberto Speranza, about the situation. He said the health protocols in place for their tournament should be considered.
These protocols include the testing of all players featuring in the tournament in their own respective country, followed by another test once they land in Palermo. They would also be quarantined by the tournament officials in the hotel room till the results are out, with testing to then be done every four days.
“We’re convinced that the health protocols adopted by the WTA are so strict to guarantee the safety and health not only of athletes, yet also of all the various workers involved in the event.”
The Palermo Open will be followed by the Kentucky Open in USA the following week.