All virus tests come back negative ahead of Palermo Open

National Sports

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — More than 400 coronavirus tests were carried out on tennis players and staff members ahead of the Palermo Ladies Open and all of them came back negative.

The WTA tournament, with qualifying beginning Saturday, marks the return of tour-level tennis following a five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first official event — for men or women — since early March.

“We carried out 190 nasal swab tests,” Dr. Antonio Cascio, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Palermo who is the tournament’s anti-virus coordinator, said Friday. “All of them came back negative. The exams will continue under strict protocols.”

Another 220 serological tests that were carried out also came back negative.

After former French Open champions Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko withdrew, the main draw is headlined by last year’s Roland Garros finalist Markéta Vondroušová, No. 15 Petra Martić and No. 20 Maria Sakkari.

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