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Tennis player tests positive for virus at Palermo Open

A tennis player entered for the Palermo Ladies Open tested positive for the coronavirus and has withdrawn from the tournament, organizers announced Saturday.

While noting that the player is asymptomatic, the WTA Tour said in a statement that she will remain in isolation “until cleared by a physician per the established protocols.

“In addition, all those who may have been in close contact with the individual are undergoing testing per WTA protocols,” the women’s tour added. “The 31st Palermo Ladies Open will continue as planned.”

Local organizers, who would not name the player, said she was admitted to a national health facility designated for asymptomatic patients with COVID-19.

“The efficiency of the protocols and the related tests allowed us to intercept a positive case,” said Dr. Antonio Cascio, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Palermo who is the tournament’s anti-virus coordinator. “The player never left her hotel room while awaiting the results of the exams.”

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All of the players for the tournament are staying in the same hotel.

The WTA tournament 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.

Qualifying began Saturday with main draw action due to begin Monday.

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.

Tournament organizers had announced on Friday that more than 400 coronavirus tests were carried out on players and staff members and all of them came back negative.

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