World no. 2 Simona Halep has pulled out of the 31st Palermo Ladies Open that is due to be played next week, from 3rd-9th August. The Italian government’s decision in making changes to the quarantine rules, for people entering the country from Romania and Bulgaria is the reason for Halep’s decision.
Tournament officials, however, have stated the quarantining rules would not apply to players, per se.
Simona Halep withdraws from 31st Ladies Palermo Open
Italy’s new quarantine requirements came out on Friday, 24th July.
According to the new rules, anyone who has been in either of these two countries in the past fortnight will be required to stay in quarantine upon entry in Italy for 14 days. These changes made it tougher for Halep to be able to play in the event given the time constriction.
On 25th July, tournament director Oliviero Palma clarified that the event had sought exemptions from the Italian health minister for players participating in the event. Later, in an interview on 26th July, Palmo reiterated, “Following a literal interpretation of the provisions in force, it seems that workers, therefore professional athletes too, should be exempted from the mandatory quarantine”.
Unsurprisingly, Halep’s decision has come as an unwelcome surprise for the tournament. In a press release, Palma noted, “We found out with great bitterness the decision of world number 2 to cancel her participation to the 31st Palermo Ladies Open.
Yesterday we were optimistic, and we had informed Halep’s staff about the fact that professional players are not obliged to quarantine”. Adding that Halep had been sent communication regarding quarantine exemption, Palma said, “Regional assessor of Health Ruggero Razza, whom we thank for his promptness and clarity, had directly sent to Halep an official communication explaining how the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health was not to be applied to workers, therefore neither to professional tennis players.
Nevertheless, Halep’s staff only communicated us the final decision, frustrating all our efforts. We are embittered and profoundly disappointed”. Simona Halep was among the first players to announce her participation in the Italian event.
Other players who are to play the event include Johanna Konta, Petra Martic, Marketa Vondrousova, and Maria Sakkari. Photo Credit: WTA Tennis