ROME – The world’s number 2 tennis player Simona Halep has pulled out of a tournament in Italy due to Covid-19 quarantine rules for Romanians, even if they did not apply to her.
Halep “has decided to pull out,” the Palermo Ladies Open wrote on Twitter. “The decision is based on recent anti-Covid measures forcing quarantine in Italy for those coming from Romania and Bulgaria.”
Organizers of the event expressed dismay, stressing they had officially communicated to Romania-born Halep that professional athletes are exempt from Italian quarantine obligations.
“We were very sorry to hear the news. We were optimistic until yesterday,” the director of the tournament, Olivero Palma, said in a statement. “We feel let down and deeply disappointed,” he added.
The Palermo event is scheduled for August 1-9 as women’s tennis returns from a long pandemic hiatus.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza issued quarantine orders for people coming into the country from Bulgaria and Romania on Friday, after an uptick in imported novel coronavirus cases.
Missing the tournament will be a blow to the Wimbledon champion’s preparations for the US Open (August 31-September 13) and rescheduled French Open (September 27-October 11).