WTA Palermo moves away from Italy. In 2014 the tournament will be played in Kuala Lumpur

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WTA Palermo moves away from Italy. In 2014 the tournament will be played in Kuala Lumpur

Now there's going to be just Rome with its Internazionali d'Italia. Despite being one of the strongest nations in the women's tennis, with a top 10 player like Sara Errani, a Grand Slam champion like Francesca Schiavone and many other great athletes such as Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta and Camila Giorgi, Italy can't keep tennis in its beautiful landscape.

As recession hit Europe and the entire economy in Europe, many tournaments are slowly disappearing from the tour. The Italiacom Open of Palermo has been played in Sicily every year for the past 26 years. Among its winners we find names like Mary Pierce, Anastasia Myskina, former World No.1 Dinara Safina, and lately many Italians, with Pennetta, Errani and Vinci taking turns to win 4 of the last 6 tournament editions.

"We strongly believe in our tournament, and we wanted to do whatever was possible to keep it in Italy. These past years have been a struggle, trying to find the money to keep on going and organizing this wonderful event.

Finally we decided to rent it to Kuala Lumpur for 6 years. Then we'll decide what to do" revealed today Oliviero Palma, the tournament's director. Palma and the other members of the club in which the Italiacom Open was organized over the past 30 years decided to decline an offer coming from the Italian Tennis Federation and another coming from the organizers of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, who wanted to move the Italian tournament to Germany to have it played on grass.

From 2014 until 2019, the WTA will have another event in Kuala Lumpur. In Italy fans will have to wait each year for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia to see their great champions in action. It's recession, and sport can't be an exception.