Halep may miss Palermo Open due to Italy quarantine order

Palermo Open may lose its biggest drawcard as Italy has decided to impose a 14-day mandatory quarantine for people coming in from Romania and Bulgaria

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World No 2 Simona Halep could miss out on the Palermo Ladies Open as Italy has decided to impose a 14-day mandatory quarantine for people coming in from Romania and Bulgaria.

On Friday, Italian health minister Roberto Speranza said that people who have been in Romania and Bulgaria in the past 14 days will be quarantined upon arrival in Italy, to reduce the importation of COVID-19 cases.

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The WTA Tour has been suspended since March due to Coronavirus, and the Palermo Open is scheduled to be the first tournament on resumption.

The event will be held on clay courts in the Sicilian capital from August 3.

According to news agency Reuters, the Palermo Open organisers have written an urgent letter to Speranza, asking for exemption for tennis players taking part in the event.

“The provision would penalise a player like (Romanian) Simona Halep, world’s number two and Wimbledon’s reigning champion, who wouldn’t take part in Palermo’s tournament anymore,” tournament director Oliviero Palma said in a statement.

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The Palermo Open will have strict health and safety protocols and all players will have to undergo tests upon arrival and ever four days after that.

“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,” Palma added.

A limited number of fans will be permitted to attend the tournament. Only 280 spectators will be allowed for each session inside the 1,500-seat stadium court.

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Romania’s Halep is the biggest drawcard in an impressive field, which also features British No 1 Johanna Konta, 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova, two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.