Hyderabad: In a significant development, the ATP Tour is moving to loosen “bubble” restrictions for players starting in Geneva and Lyon. This is a marked contrast in India where all the sports activities have come to an abrupt halt because of a massive rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.
As per reports, players have been told that starting at those events—which are in a little more than a week—they can stay at other hotels, go to restaurants and some other off-site locations, travel on public transit and share accommodation. Players will still not be allowed to attend large public gatherings or go to bars and nightclubs.
According to Tennis.com, previously players were allowed to go only between the event site and the hotel, though the tour had moved to allow players to use their own homes starting a month ago in Monte Carlo. However, the WTA Tour has not altered its requirements.
There will also be changes to testing, according to the website. The ATP will switch from PCR testing every four days to rapid testing every two days. Plus, fully vaccinated players would be exempt from the requirements for testing, provided they meet specific criteria.
All the changes are subject to approval from local authorities.
In a welcome sign, sporting activities have returned in most of the European countries and more importantly the crowd too has returned to the stadiums. There is all probability of having a crowd for the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea in London if the match is shifted from the Covid-19 infected Istanbul (Turkey).
The English county cricket has made a prompt start to the season. In a long season, England will host seven Tests – two against New Zealand and five against England apart from the World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand at Southampton. Even the crowd will be allowed to watch the matches.
Bad scenario in India, Asian countries
For India and the Asian countries, it is still not a sweet music as tournaments have either been stopped or postponed. Sporting activity picked up in India in November last year before the second wave of Covid-19 stopped all activities in the country.
The Indian Premier League suffered the biggest jolt when the organisers had to stop the tournament abruptly as four players, mainly from Kolkata Knight Riders, tested Covid-19 positive. The BCCI had no other alternative but to suspend the tournament and evict all the foreign players from the country. The Board will reportedly incur Rs 2500 crore loss if the IPL 2021 is not completed.
For Indian shuttlers and Tokyo hopefuls Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, the postponement of the Malaysian Open was a big setback as it was one of the windows to qualify for the postponed July Tokyo Olympics. Their hope of an Olympic berth has all but evaporated. The India Open, scheduled to start from Tuesday in New Delhi, was also suspended.
No Summer Camps in Hyderabad
For the second successive year, there will be no GHMC Summer Camps in the city. With Covid-18 continuing to hit normal life, the authorities have decided to cancel the camps this year too. Started by late L Venkatram Reddy, the one-month summer camps usually start from April 25 in 38 disciplines at 522 grounds. Over the years, the GHMC summer camps became very popular but the Covid-19 has disrupted the sporting life in the city since last year.
The Hyderabad Cricket Association’s summer camps too would not be held this year. The camps, of late, have stopped at Gymkhana and Uppal Stadium for the last few years.
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