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

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

The occasion, which will likely be held on the Singapore Sports activities Hub’s OCBC Enviornment, will run from Feb 22 to Feb 28 with qualifiers going down on Feb 20 and 21.

That is the primary time that Singapore is internet hosting an Affiliation of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour event in 22 years. The nation has hosted the Girls’s Tennis Affiliation Finals lately. 

The choice to disallow spectators on the OCBC Enviornment was “for safety reasons”, the organisers mentioned.

However followers might nonetheless be allowed in from the center of subsequent week, relying on what number of COVID-19 instances Singapore reviews from now till then, mentioned the pinnacle of the organising committee. 

Among the many acquainted names collaborating will likely be 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic and present world quantity 35, Adrian Mannarino. Notable Asian gamers embody Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and India’s Rohan Bopanna.

READ: Tennis: Singapore to host first ATP 250 event subsequent month

All gamers travelling from the Australian Open to take part within the Singapore Tennis Open will likely be examined for COVID-19 upon arrival into Singapore. Gamers will likely be remoted till they obtain a detrimental check end result, and also will must obtain the TraceTogether App throughout their keep in Singapore.

After their arrival, gamers will proceed to be remoted and have their actions strictly managed between their official lodge and the OCBC Enviornment.

Gamers will even be additional remoted in particular person workforce “bubbles” and will be unable to have shut and extended interplay with different gamers.

As an example, gamers have particular person health club rooms positioned on the lodge flooring they’re staying at, and particular person eating rooms on a separate eating ground to stop mixing between groups throughout meal instances.

Abroad officers and event workers will even be required to stick to related protocol and can have no direct contact with the gamers.

The event will use a digital line calling system as an alternative of line judges, whereas ball girls and boys will put on masks and faces shields and never deal with gamers’ towels.

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

READ: Australian Open cohort at ‘comparatively low threat’ from COVID-19 case: Victoria well being officers

Singapore Tennis Open organising committee chairman and Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin instructed reporters in a digital briefing on Friday that gamers who check optimistic won’t be allowed to compete.

Mr Lim mentioned there are totally different protocols for optimistic instances relying on the place they’re at, be it the lodge, on transport or the OCBC Enviornment.

“So we’ve mapped out every single step of the way, where they could be at the time the test results come in,” he added.

“It will indeed mean that if there is COVID-plus player or COVID-plus coach, and there’s an ongoing match, we have the protocols that we will work with ATP officials to withdraw the affected person to an isolation centre, before we get them transported to NCID (National Centre for Infectious Diseases).

“And from then on, they are going to observe our nationwide protocols.”

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


More than 200 people, including players, family members, coaches and officials, are expected to fly in for the tournament.

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

Fifty players have arrived, with more arriving over the weekend. There have been no positive test results so far, Mr Lim said.

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, strictly digital communication between players and tournament liaisons, 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,” mentioned Mr Lim within the press launch.

Mr Lim mentioned that the event will likely be held with stringent secure administration measures in place, guaranteeing that each one who’re concerned, and people within the wider group, are secure.


However he didn’t rule out shutting off the occasion fully to followers, saying that there could possibly be a evaluate by the organisers to see whether or not followers could possibly 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 mentioned at Friday’s digital media briefing. 

“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.”

Mr Lim mentioned one of many foremost determiners behind the choice whether or not to permit spectators in could be the variety of COVID-19 instances reported in Singapore subsequent week. 

“Obviously the biggest risks right now are the risks of imported transmission. As you can see … on a daily basis … the COVID-19 cases that we’ve seen have largely been imported,” he mentioned.

“These people (attending the tournament) are travelling in from Australia (from the Australian Open) and other parts of the world.

“What we wish to have the ability to guarantee is that we’ve been comparatively COVID-19 free, in order that if we shouldn’t have any optimistic case any more to midweek subsequent week, we’ll keep in mind that issue as one of many foremost components.”

Mr Lim said a decision could be expected next Wednesday or Thursday, at the round of 16 or quarter-final stage of the tournament.

This is despite spectators being allowed into other sporting events held in Singapore recently, including One Championship mixed martial arts bouts and a Singapore Premier League football match.

Mr Lim said Singapore Tennis Open organisers had initially planned for there to be spectators, until authorities tightened coronavirus restrictions leading up to Chinese New Year amid a rise in community cases.

“I feel the COVID-19 ministerial job pressure has been very clear of their rationalization of the necessity to improve measures, due to what we had been seeing world wide, and what we had been seeing on the Australian Open (the place various gamers have examined optimistic),” he said.

“So, I feel it represents a sure agility and adaptation to the prevailing state of affairs and we should have the ability to work in accordance with the prevailing state of affairs.

“Obviously for One Championship, they have been in country and they have a very different profile in terms of the control of travel and movement than we have over the tennis world.”


However, Mr Lim is assured that regardless of the quick lead time, tickets could be “snapped up quite quickly” if followers had been let in. 

Round 200 to 250 spectators are anticipated, much like the opposite just lately held sporting occasions.

Mr Lim mentioned organisers weren’t anticipating lots of sponsorship or ticketing income because of the present financial state of affairs and restrictions on spectator numbers.

“But what I would like to say is that the sponsors that have come on board have largely been sponsoring us in kind, and the partners that we’ve been working with have been very big collaborators in keeping costs under control,” he mentioned. 

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