The first WTA tournament after a five-month coronavirus pandemic hiatus will be the 31st Palermo Ladies Open and after yesterday’s announcement that the event organizers asked Italian Health Minister to make Romanian tennis players exempt from a 14-day quarantine in Italy, we’re now learning that Simona Halep will not travel to Sicily, even though the quarantine measure wouldn’t be applied to her.
On Sunday afternoon, the world No.2 Halep released a statement on Twitter:
Given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo. I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian Ministry of Health for all efforts on my behalf.
This Halep’s decision seems to be a slap in the face for the 31st Palermo Ladies Open organizers. Tournament director Oliviero Palma said:
We were filled with regret when informed of the news. We had informed Halep’s staff in detail about the fact that professional players shouldn’t have to go into quarantine. But nevertheless Halep’s staff informed us when their decision was already taken. We are disheartened and deeply upset.
The two-time Grand Slam champion Halep would be exempt from quarantine as the measure doesn’t apply to workers, and therefore to professional athletes.
Four other Top 20 players remain on the entry list: Johanna Konta of Great Britain, Petra Martic of Croatia, Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and Maria Sakkari of Greece. (source: ESPN, photo: Jimmie48)