Simona Halep withdraws from Palermo Open because of new coronavirus restrictions

Simona Halep celebrates at Wimbledon
Simona Halep is the reigning Wimbledon champion

World number two Simona Halep has withdrawn from next month's Palermo Ladies Open over quarantine rules.

On Saturday, Italy imposed a 14-day quarantine on people travelling from Romania and Bulgaria over Covid-19.

The move would have affected Halep, who was due to compete from 3 August at the first WTA event since March.

"Given the rise in cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel, I have made the tough decision to withdraw," she said on Twitter. external-link

"I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all efforts on my behalf."

Tournament organisers had asked for an exemption for players from the two countries.

All players at the tournament will be tested for coronavirus before they travel. They will be tested again on arrival and will not be able to leave their hotel until they get the results. Further testing will take place every four days.

"We're convinced that the health protocols adopted by the WTA are so strict to guarantee the safety and health not only of athletes, yet also of all the various workers involved in the event," said tournament director Oliviero Palma.

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