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Tennis is back: Palermo Open the first WTA tournament after lockdown



Palermo Open

Palermo Open: the first WTA tournament since lockdown underway in Italy


Tennis fans rejoice as the first WTA/ATP tournament  (Palermo Open) after COVID-19 brought professional sports to a standstill, is playing out in Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily.

The qualifying rounds of  the 31st edition of Palermo Open started on Saturday 1 August and are expected to end on Monday 9 August, at the same time as the first rounds of the main draw.

A number of big names in the world of tennis are participating; including Kristyna Pliskova, Maria Sakkari, Marketa Vondrousova, Anett Kontaveit, Petra Martic, and Kristina Mladenovic.

The tournament has not been free of COVID-related problems however. Simona Halep, currently No. 1 on the WTA ranking, was prevented from participating after Italian authorities imposed restrictions on travellers from Romania. Moreover, upon arrival in Palermo, one unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19 in the mandatory testing for the virus. According to an official communication from the organisers, the player was asymptomatic and had not left her hotel room before getting the result of the test.

The event did not further affect the organisation of the tournament, with matches being played as planned through the weekend. One major challenge for all players, however, are the Sicilian summer temperatures; they reached almost 40 ˚C this weekend and are likely to continue in the high thirties throughout the week.


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