Palermo Ladies Open: WTA event shows how it’s done during a crisis with COVID-19 protocols – Sports News

Local organisers and the WTA Tour have been vigilant about abiding by strict well being protocols as a way to maintain this week’s Palermo Ladies Open, the primary tour-level tennis match for males or ladies in 5 months.

Rome: The solely participant who examined constructive for the coronavirus was withdrawn from the match with out ever setting foot on the venue.

Another participant was admonished for venturing outdoors the occasion bubble and posting a selfie on social media displaying her posing in entrance of a downtown fountain.

Former French Open finalist Sara Errani and Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan acquired verbal warnings from the chair umpire for throwing their wristbands and a visor to children within the crowd following victories.

Local organisers and the WTA Tour have been vigilant about abiding by strict well being protocols as a way to maintain this week’s Palermo Ladies Open, the primary tour-level tennis match for males or ladies in 5 months.

“If this was the way all European citizens were being checked, the coronavirus would no longer be a problem,” match director Oliviero Palma informed The Associated Press in an telephone interview earlier than Friday’s quarter-final matches.

“We’re showing that it’s possible to restart,” Palma added. “I think this experience can be repeated anywhere. The important thing is to follow the protocols very carefully.”

The protocols require gamers and employees members to be examined for COVID-19 upon arrival after which once more each 4 days; gamers to deal with their very own towels; solely three ball collectors per court docket and all of them at the least 18 years outdated; gamers to put on masks as they enter and depart the court docket; and all media interviews to be carried out electronically.

“It definitely is different,” stated fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit. “I literally haven’t left the hotel to go anywhere but the court. … That’s what the situation needs right now.”

Players will encounter an identical, albeit on a a lot bigger scale, bubble environment on the upcoming US Open, which begins 31 August and might be preceded by a warmup match on the identical venue in New York.

“It’s going to be a lot longer in the States,” Kontaveit stated of the bubble. “The key is just to find something to do and keep yourself entertained as much as you can.”

As the primary match again, Palermo has served as a check for the occasions that observe. For instance, there was already a change in bathe protocols.

Whereas initially gamers and coaches had been informed to wash solely on the resort, organisers shortly modified the rule once they realised that placing sweaty gamers into match automobiles may very well be unhealthy and unsanitary.

Players and coaches can now bathe on the venue in numerous locker rooms. Only two folks can enter any locker room on the identical time.

“Obviously nobody can have a police officer hovering over their shoulder 24 hours a day, because that’s impossible,” Errani stated. “But if we’re all in a position to be accountable and deal with ourselves nicely we are able to transfer ahead.

“If everyone starts to go off doing crazy things and doing whatever they want,” Errani added. “That’s when the problems start.”

In June, top-ranked Novak Djokovic and a number of other different gamers examined constructive for the virus after taking part in in a sequence of exhibition matches he organised in Serbia and Croatia with zero social distancing.

“As the first tournament back, Palermo has done a great job. The safety element is there,” stated Italian participant Jasmine Paolini. “Let’s hope we can continue like this without glitches in other tournaments.”

When an unnamed participant examined constructive on the primary day of qualifying final weekend, she was instantly moved to a facility designated for asymptomatic sufferers with COVID-19. Then as soon as she returned consecutive constructive assessments, she was despatched house.

“It was caught right away. It means that the tests work and the protocol is correct,” Palma stated. “I might have been nervous if we hadn’t found something instantly and discovered later.

“That’s the whole point of the tests: to intercept a positive before it can create any damage.”

Likewise, Errani and Juvan had been spoken to by the umpire after throwing gadgets together with a visor and wristbands to the group, which is being restricted to lower than 300 spectators per day.

“I understand their concern but it was actually like an instinct,” Juvan stated after upsetting second-seeded Markéta Vondroušová. “Maybe I won’t do it the next few days.”

The subsequent WTA match in Europe might be held in Prague subsequent week.

“A large part of the players are coming from Palermo,” Palma stated. “So they’re going there negative, which gives Prague a head start.”

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Aman Singh

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