Back in March when Indian Wells was forced to cancel for the first time in tournament history due to COVID-19, the tours and its players didn't know what to expect. Many thought Miami would still be played, but the Premier Mandatory event would also get called off. The tour would soon be forced to suspend the season for five months.

But now professional tennis is back.

The Palermo Open is the first event since the closure of the WTA tour and it kicked off the red clay court action on Monday.


Donna Vekic was the first main-draw match and the first winner of the day. The world No. 24 easily defeated Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-2. Vekic will face Elisabetta Cocciaretto for the first time in the event's second round.

With the tour schedule changing every week, Vekic is learning to adapt by focusing on the present and taking things week by week.


"So far my plan is to Cincinnati, US Open, Rome and French Open," Vekic said in an interview following her first-round match. "I think things are changing every week. So, I think we just have to take it week by week, and try to adapt as best as we can and hope to play as much as we can. "

Sara Errani slipped past Sorana Cirstea, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, in a shaky opening match. The Italian seemed to be struggling with a leg injury but was able to manage the pain on Center Court.

Palermo is a special place for Errani. It's where she captured her first WTA title in 2008. Although, 2020 looks different with racquet taps replacing handshakes and the stands mostly empty, Errani seemed happy to be back.

Maria Sakkari is also making her return to the tour in Italy, and has spent a few days practicing in Palermo before the start of the event.


The Greek could not wipe the smile off her face during her latest training session. Sakkari is set to face Kristyna Pliskova with Errani awaiting the winner.


With views like this, fans or no fans, it's hard not to be excited for the return of world class tennis.

There's more tennis on the way soon, too. In two weeks, The Western and Southern Open will welcome Grand Slam champions Naomi Osaka, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters in New York. The event that is normally staged in Cincinnati is set to be played at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, just ahead of the US Open.