The fifth edition of the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium will be held this year, from the 18th-25th October. The tournament is taking place this season amid several restrictions brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Even as the tournament deals with the limitations that have had to be put in place, it has also had to deal with the prospect of David Goffin being forced to miss the event after having tested positive for the Coronavirus.
The world no. 14 was the first player to confirm his participation in his home event back in September. Despite the worries surrounding Goffin’s participation, the tournament officials are positive that the Belgian will take to the court in Antwerp.
In his pre-tournament media conference, tournament director (TD) Dick Norman clarified the situation regarding the 29-year-old potentially playing the event, while replying to TennisWorld USA’s query about the Belgian being a part of the draw.
Norman said, “(We are) confident that he will be able to play. (His) first match will be on Thursday (22nd October)”. Adding that by the time Goffin played his opening round, it will have been more than two weeks since his diagnosis, Norman mentioned that Belgian rules only require a seven-day quarantine.
Rubel Bemelmans, who had received a wildcard into the qualifying draw, however, will not be a part of the tournament. The Belgian’s missing the event comes on account of him testing positive for Covid-19. Zizou Bergs, the 21-year-old Belgian, has been awarded Bemelmans’ wildcard instead.
Antwerp Open's only choice: To play in 2020
Despite these late-cropping developments, the tournament organisers are optimistic about making the event a success this year, too, as in its past four years. Thus, unlike other events that opted for outright cancellation, the organisers of the European Open decided against pushing the event to 2021.
In the presser, speaking about the reason for going ahead with the event this year, Norman said that since the event was still nascent, the organisers didn’t want to break the momentum they have got going. Responding to TennisWorld USA’s question regarding the challenges that this posed for the tournament organisers, Norman said, “It was very challenging.
We felt the pressure getting higher and higher in the last seven-eight weeks. (We were) afraid that they would close the doors on us…” Then, talking about the protocols the Antwerp Open organisers were required to follow, Norman said that the event organisers received protocol guidelines from the ATP that were 50 pages long, apart from stipulations by the Belgian and Flanders governments.
Finally, he added, “…We received a lot of support, people of the Lotto Arena also supported us”.