Updated: January 9, 2022 8:15:50 pm
Following the Maharashtra government’s order on Saturday calling for curbs to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 infection, the ATP 250 Tata Open Maharashtra tennis event in Pune will now be conducted in a bio-secure bubble.The order called for the organisation of all sporting events in the state to be postponed, however, “national and international (level) competitions already scheduled” will be allowed to go ahead provided they are held behind closed doors and inside a bubble.
“It’ll happen in a bubble, but importantly it will happen,” says Sunder Iyer, honorary secretary of the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), the host for the tournament.
“Players will have to clear the RT-PCR test 72 hours before arriving in India. Once they land, they will head straight to the hotel where they will be tested again. After that, they’ll get tested on the fourth and seventh day.”
India’s only ATP tournament was added to the professional tour 2022 calendar back in November, and will take place starting January 31. This will be the first time since the 2020 edition that the event will be held, as the tournament last year was cancelled since the Indian government had made it mandatory for all travellers arriving from abroad to enter a 14-day quarantine.
The ATP had made it clear that events will not be held in countries where quarantine is mandatory.Under the new guidelines set by the Government of India, seven-day quarantine is compulsory for international arrivals. However, the players arriving for the Pune event will be exempt from being in isolation.
“No quarantine (will be required). We have got a special exemption from the Maharashtra government,” Iyer adds.However, Iyer makes it clear that there will be no medical exemptions made available to unvaccinated players or their support staff.“Double vaccination is compulsory to enter the stadium. No exemptions, this is the Government of India rule. Even if you have to enter a mall you need to be double vaccinated, so the same will apply here,” he says.
The organisers, according to Iyer, are finalising the lodging arrangements with hotels near the Balewadi Sports Complex, where “everyone involved in the tournament will be staying.”However, he’s uncertain about the use of ball kids during the event.Since vaccines were only recently opened for under-18s, there will not be any fully vaccinated ball kid available to volunteer at the event.“It’s not decided what will happen, we will have to discuss it with the ATP. We don’t know where the kids are coming from, and they will not be fully vaccinated right now,” he concludes.
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