Sunday’s Palermo PHOTOS: Smiles under masks as players welcome the return of competition


The 2020 Palermo Ladies Open will make history books as the first WTA tournament since the five-month coronavirus shutdown. Sunday’s tennis action on the Italian island was all about the second round of qualifying, as main-draw matches start tomorrow, while players wearing masks is now the new normal on tournament grounds, as you can see in our exclusive photo gallery provided by Jimmie48.

When it comes to qualifying, we have photos of Nadia Podoroska‘s three-set win over eighth seed Ysaline Bonaventure and Liudmila Samsonova‘s elimination of Marta Kostyuk, also in three sets.

Our photographer caught up with a number of big names as they trained and talked to the media: Anett Kontaveit, Daria Kasatkina, Petra Martic, Maria Sakkari, Donna Vekic, and Kristina Mladenovic.

Greek world No.20 Maria Sakkari, who practiced with good friend Donna Vekic of Croatia on Sunday, revealed to the WTA’s Courtney Nguyen that she really missed competition and would have competed in the 100-meter track-and-field event at the National Championships had the tennis season not resumed this year:

[I can run a] 12.7 without spikes or starting blocks. My fitness coach, who is a track and field specialist, said that if I trained I could probably make the final.

Anett Kontaveit was working on her food gardening skills during quarantine, but the Estonian world No.22 wasn’t too excited about her new hobby:

I miss that the most, being on court and feeling these emotions that you don’t feel when you’re growing basil.

Check out our Sunday’s photos from Palermo to see how tennis looks during these strange corona times: players are wearing masks, their temperature is being checked on site, high-fives are replaced by elbow bumps, etc. Still, even under masks we can see that players are smiling and eager to get back to the thrill of tennis battles.



  1. So far it seems that it will be possible to have tournaments in this coronavirus era. I hope everything will work out perfectly for Palermo and upcoming WTA tournaments. It’s good to have tennis back.

  2. Nikki, so far so good, even though an anonymous player had tested positive and withdrawn. This is a welcome change after five months without tennis. I hope the situation will only get better.


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