28 years’ old Romanian Simona Halep, 2nd in the WTA ranking, will be the star of the 31st Palermo Ladies Open, to be played from August 1 to 9 at Palermo’s Country Time Club. Her participation was announced this morning by Giorgio Cammarata, the Club’s president, and Oliviero Palma, the tournament’s director, in a press conference.

“We are enthusiast about having one of the best players ever to resume her path in professional tennis here in Palermo – said Cammarata and Palma. Simona has immediately showed a great interest in the tournament and, 10 years after her first appearance, she will be back playing at the Country Club”.

20 WTA titles winner (among them, Roland Garros in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019), Simona Halep achieved, on the 22nd of February, the milestone of 500 career victories. She has been number one in the rankings for 64 weeks: from October 9 2017 to January 28 2018, and form February 26 2018 to January 27 2019. Before the Coronavirus suspension, she won the Dubai Premier, beating Elea Rybakina in the final (3-6, 6-3, 7-6 [5]).

“Hello everyone – said Halep in a video sent to Oliviero Palma – I’m very happy to announce that I will be back in Palermo after ten years. Hope to have a great week over there. See you soon”.

Halep has already played in Palermo in 2010, when she was just eighteen years old: as number 96 of the ranking, she lost in the first round to Aravane Rezai (7-5 4-6 6-2), at that time second seed of the tournament and 20th of the ranking. Now she is coming back as the undisputed star of a tournament that will count on a draw of an extraordinary value. “The WTA has decided to postpone for a week the deadline for sign-ins – explained Palma. On Monday, we will have the entry list for both main draw and qualifiers, and I can assure we are going to have fun this year. We may define this edition of the Ladies Open a Premier, although it is an International. We will certainly give a Wild Card to Camila Giorgi”.

Furthermore, during the press conference, the organisers presented the Anti-COVID protocol. Among them, Professor Antonio Cascio, full professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Palermo and Anti-COVID coordinator of the tournament, and Professor Francesco Vitale, full professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at the University of Palermo and Chief Responsible of the regional COVID laboratory, who will analyse the players’ tests.

The athletes, as well as their and WTA’s staff, will undergo COVID tests four days before their departure. A further test will be done at the arrival in Palermo and every four days. In total, about 800 exams will be done during the tournament.

All those working at the tournament but not being in close contact with players will undergo quick tests.

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