03/03/2021

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No spectators allowed at Singapore Tennis Open; daily COVID-19 tests for travelling players


Sport

Croatia’s Marin Cilic serves against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita

Croatia’s Marin Cilic will be one of the more recognisable names at the Singapore Tennis Open, which runs from Feb 20 to 28, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Behrouz Mehri)



(Updated: )

SINGAPORE: No spectators will be allowed at the upcoming Singapore Tennis Open, said organisers in a press release on Friday (Feb 19).

The event, which will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena, will run from Feb 22 to Feb 28 with qualifiers taking place on Feb 20 and 21. 

The decision to disallow spectators at the OCBC Arena was “for safety reasons”, the organisers said on Friday.

Among the familiar names taking part will be 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic and current world number 35, Adrian Mannarino. Notable Asian players include Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and India’s Rohan Bopanna. 

All players travelling from the Australian Open to participate in the Singapore Tennis Open will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival into Singapore. Players will be isolated until they receive a negative test result, and will also need to download the TraceTogether App during their stay in Singapore.

After their arrival, players will continue to be isolated and have their movements strictly managed between their official hotel and the OCBC Arena.

Players will also be further isolated in individual team “bubbles” and will not be able to have close and prolonged interaction with other players. 

Overseas officials and tournament staff will also be required to adhere to similar protocol and will have no direct contact with the players.

“Containment plans have also been developed should there be a COVID-19 case detected,” said the organisers.

READ: Australian Open cohort at ‘relatively low risk’ from COVID-19 case: Victoria health officials

COMMENTARY: The Australian Open has lessons for large sports events in Singapore

DAILY TESTS

All players will undergo daily COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests throughout their stay in Singapore. 

Local tournament staff, officials, and volunteers are required to undergo daily antigen rapid tests and will only be allowed on-site upon receiving a negative test result. 

These personnel will be socially distanced and have no physical contact with players. Measures such as virtual press conferences, electronic line-calling and dedicated socially-distanced zones will further segment the working groups.

“Hosting the Singapore Tennis Open will give us an opportunity to exercise our protocols and show how we can restart international-level sports offerings safely in Singapore,” said Singapore Tennis Open organising committee chairman and Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin in the press release. 

Mr Lim said that the tournament will be held with stringent safe management measures in place, ensuring that all who are involved, and those in the wider community, are safe.

But he did not rule out shutting off the event completely to fans. 

In a virtual briefing to members of the media on Friday afternoon, Mr Lim said there could be a review by the organisers to see whether fans could be allowed in.

“We would like to open the door for a review midway in the tournament, to see if conditions would allow us to bring spectators to come and attend the event on its final weekend,” he said. 

“So we are sparing no effort to keep the event safe, and to run a successful and smooth tournament and open the possibility of a review sometime mid-next week to see if we can entertain spectators at the end of the week.”

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