FILE -- In this May 30, 2018 file photo Romania's Simona Halep slams a forehand to Alison Riske of the U.S. during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris. With second-ranked Simona Halep joined by 2017 French Open champion Jeļena Ostapenko and last year’s Roland Garros finalist Markéta Vondroušová, this year’s Palermo Ladies Open, the Aug. 3-9 event marking the return of tour-level tennis following a five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic, will be like no other. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Second-ranked Simona Halep withdrew from the Palermo Ladies Open Sunday following a quarantine ordinance issued by Italy’s health ministry.

“Given the recent rise in Covid19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo,” Halep tweeted. “I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all efforts on my behalf.”

The Aug. 3-9 tournament announced Sunday that the Romanian player’s manager, Virginia Ruzici, had informed Palermo officials of the decision.

The move comes after Italy’s health minister on Friday signed an ordinance requiring all those who have in the last 14 days stayed in Romania or Bulgaria to quarantine.

“We were filled with regret when informed of the news,” tournament director Oliviero Palma said. “We had informed Halep’s staff in detail about the fact that professional players shouldn’t have to go into quarantine.

“But nevertheless Halep’s staff informed us when their decision was already taken. We are disheartened and deeply upset,” Palma added.

Palma also said that a regional health minister had sent Halep a notice explaining that the government ordinance does not apply to workers, and therefore to professional athletes.

Halep was going to be the headline player for the clay-court tournament, the first professional tour-level tennis event following a five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic.

Four other top-20 players remain entered: No. 14 Johanna Konta of Britain, No. 15 Petra Martić of Croatia, No. 18 Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic and No. 20 Maria Sakkari of Greece.

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