Sport Tennis blow on WTA return as Palermo Open player tests positive for coronavirus
Halep set for Palermo Open as quarantine worries ease
Simona Halep's hopes of competing in the Palermo Open look positive again, despite new quarantine rules being introduced in Italy.New restrictions were announced on Friday for all visitors who have spent time in Romania or Bulgaria in the past 14 days; however, tournament organisers are confident they will not apply to athletes.
Tennis suffered a fresh blow to its restart plans when the Palermo Open announced a women's tour player had tested positive for COVID-19.
Ahead of the first WTA tournament since March, event organisers in Sicily said the player was asymptomatic and had been kept apart from others.
Hopes of a smooth return to action had already been hit by a spate of withdrawals from the Palermo Open, with world number two Simona Halep among those pulling out.
Tennis returns as service resumes at Palermo WTA
There were some 350 fans allowed into a venue that normally holds 1,500. Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina captured titles on March 8, the last day of competitive matches before the circuit was put on hold as the tennis calendar was shaken upside down. The prestigious Indian Wells event in the California desert became the first competition axed due to the pandemic. The French Open was then moved to late September with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War II.
Now the event, which begins on Monday, has been hit by a fresh setback. The affected player's identity was not released, but she has withdrawn from the tournament.
The WTA said the tournament would "continued as planned", adding: "All those who may have been in close contact with the individual are undergoing testing per WTA protocols."
A tournament spokesperson said: "We inform you that, following the checks as per the protocol, a player enrolled in the 31st Palermo Ladies Open was positive for COVID-19.
"The asymptomatic player, who had carried out the required tests upon her arrival in the city at the mobile clinic adjacent to the hotel hosting the tennis players, was transferred to a building of the National Health Service used for asymptomatic patients."
Madrid Open cancelled due to coronavirus
Madrid Open tournaments were unable to guarantee the tournament could be staged safely next month.September 12-20 were the revised dates for the prestigious tournament to be held after it was originally due to take place from May 1-10.
The tournament's coronavirus consultant, Professor Antonio Cascio, said: "The effectiveness of the protocols and related controls allowed us to intercept a positive case among the players who arrived in Palermo. The same player, waiting for the results of the tests, had always remained in her hotel room."
The grandstands are ready!— Palermo Ladies Open (@LadiesOpenPA)
Qualifiers were getting under way on Saturday ahead of the tournament proper, which intends to allow entry to a limited number of spectators.
There have been a number of notable cases of tennis players being infected with COVID-19 during recent months, with men's world number one Novak Djokovic among them.
Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic also tested positive after participating in the controversial Adria Tour.
Strasbourg confirm four new positive coronavirus cases as Ligue 1 return looms .
The 2020-21 Ligue 1 season will begin on August 22, but Strasbourg's preparations for the campaign have been hit by COVID-19.The French side confirmed five people at the club had contracted the virus on July 29, announcing the new detections on Tuesday following tests a day earlier.