Italy reduces travel restrictions on international athletes, for now

Italy reduces travel restrictions on international athletes, for now

An athlete and any team members can enter even if they are coming from a country from where travel is currently prohibited or where quarantine is required, as long as they have tested negative for the virus within the previous 48 hours.

The Italian government has issued new coronavirus regulations that lift some restrictions for sports competitions, which could help tennis players avoid quarantine if they play Rome, scheduled to being on September 20.

The national Council of Ministers will now allow an athlete and any team members to enter even if they are coming from a country from where travel is currently prohibited or where quarantine is required, as long as they have tested negative for the virus within the previous 48 hours.

This must be done using nasopharyngeal swab PCR testing, which is the same as the testing that will be used at ATP and WTA events and the US Open. But the recent cancelation of Madrid means there are currently no tour-level events the week before Rome, which would require players to arrange testing themselves if they require the exemption. 

Players would also be tested before arriving on site at Rome under ATP and WTA rules, and undergo additional testing during the event.

The Italian exemptions are for any sporting organizations and events recognized by the government, which includes the Italian tennis federation and the Rome ATP and WTA events. But while the new regulations extend for the next month, Rome is more than six weeks away, so they would have to be renewed further to be used by most players coming for the event.

The national government is also allowing crowds of up to 1,000 spectators at sporting events if approved by local authorities, but Rome officials appear to have told the event it should not have fans.

Following the cancellation of Madrid, there has also been an ATP request on increasing the current 64-player Rome draw to a 96-player draw, which would also lengthen the tournament by at least a few days. The federation has not yet confirmed any changes.