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Halep set for Palermo Open as quarantine worries ease

Simona Halep’s hopes of competing in the Palermo Open look positive again, despite new quarantine rules being introduced in Italy.

Simona Halep has been assured she should be allowed to compete at the Palermo Open, after fears that new quarantine rules in Italy would rule her out.

New restrictions were announced on Friday for all visitors who have spent time in Romania or Bulgaria in the past 14 days; however, tournament organisers are confident they will not apply to athletes.

Tournament chief executive Oliviero Palma wrote to Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza to seek an exemption, but on Saturday he sounded an optimistic note regarding the reigning Wimbledon champion.

“Simona Halep should participate in the 31st Palermo Open,” Palma said.

“Following a literal interpretation of the provisions in force, it seems that workers, therefore professional athletes too, should be exempted from the mandatory quarantine.

“We are waiting for an official clarification from the competent authorities, but we are confident. I reassured Simona Halep’s manager.”

World number two Halep, who has spent lockdown at home in Romania, is due in Sicily for the event which starts on August 3.

The Palermo Open will be the first WTA Tour tournament since March and Halep is the star attraction in the field.

Italy, one of the first nations to be badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is determined to be cautious about visitors arriving from other countries.

Speranza said on Saturday: “We must protect our country within an international context that is worsening. We live on one planet. The battle is won with determination and solidarity.”

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