November 24, 2023

Open Court


Masks everywhere as Palermo marks return to tennis


Errani's second comfort break had her masked up.


Things didn’t get off to a good start when an unnamed WTA Tour player tested positive for COVID-19 before the tournament even began.

But on the first day of the main draw at the 31st Palermo Ladies Open, masks were all over the place.

Well, not everywhere – the chair umpires weren’t wearing them. And the ballpersons – all required to be over 18 in these special circumstances – weren’t wearing them either.

But on the plus side, they weren’t handling the icky towels, which got plenty of use in the hot conditions in Sicily.

The ballpersons aren’t masked or gloved. But the players are handling their own towels at the Palermo Ladies Open. ( screenshot)

Bathroom breaks? Mask up!

It appeared Errani forgot the “mask-up” rule when she went for the bathroom break after a 60-minute first set. But they got it right after that. ( screenshot)
Errani’s second comfort break had her masked up.

Masks everywhere, pretty much

Kasatkina coach Carlos Martinez masks up during his player’s first-round loss Monday in Palermo ( screenshot)

A medical timeout for Sara Errani meant a mask for her (except when she took a drink, which would be awkward) and the WTA Tour health provider.

Errani pulls the mask down to take a drink, while the WTA health-care provider masks up during an MTO Monday in Palermo. ( screenshot)

The fans were cooperative as well, for the most part.

Fans in the stands at the Palermo Ladies Open are masked up on Monday. ( screenshot)

No handshakes for the foreseeable future

Racquet taps at the end of matches will be the norm.

Vekic racquet taps with opponent Arantxa Rus after her impressive first-round win in Palermo Monday. No handshakes will be the protocol. ( screenshot)
Errani and Sorana Cirstea racquet tap after a long match that began in the brilliant sunshine in Palermo, but ended after dark. ( screenshot)

Of course, there are few rituals that are going to take longer to train out of people.

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