World No. 2 Simona Halep's appearance at the upcoming WTA event in Palermo is in doubt after Italy decided to impose a mandatory quarantine of 14 days for people coming from Romania and Bulgaria due to the global pandemic.
Simona Halep may be affected by the new quarantine order from Italy
On Friday, Italian Helath 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.
According to The Province, Tournament director Oliviero Palma has said that he has written to the government for an exemption and hopes that the protocols being put in place will be sufficient to satisfy the government. "The provision would penalize a player like Simona Halep, world’s number two and Wimbledon’s reigning champion, who wouldn’t take part in Palermo’s tournament anymore.
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. I’m convinced that there are all the necessary conditions and guarantees to give a derogation for all tennis players coming from Romania or Bulgaria, in order to avoid their quarantine and, hence, their retirement from the tournament”.
Palermo is scheduled to be the first professional tennis event when the WTA Tour returns in August. The tennis circuit has been suspended since early March due to the global pandemic. Other players scheduled to take part in the event include World no.
14 Johanna Konta and 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova. The lowest-ranked player with direct entry into the main draw is world no. 69 Kristyna Pliskova. There is also a possibility that World no. 3 Karolina Pliskova could play in the tournament.
The event plans to allow limited fans for each session and players will be required to abide by rules such as handling their own towels, no handshakes amongst other things. The WTA recently announced that all the events in China have been cancelled for this season including the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
28 year old Simona Halep is a former World No. 1 and current World No. 2. She was the year-end No. 1 in 2017 and 2018 and has won 20 WTA singles titles. She has won two Grand Slam singles titles, at the 2018 French Open and the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.