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No Fans For Rome

By Richard Pagliaro

Muscular marble statues adorning the Foro Italico won't have much company this month.

Rome will play without fans.

More: Roland Garros to Cap Attendance at 11,500

Ticket holders will be a voucher valid for tickets for the next two years, Italian Federation president Angelo Binaghi said.

"Our Tournament will be held with no spectators, we’ll refund the buyers with a 'super voucher' of value plus 25%," Binaghi said. "The voucher will be valid for two years." 

The Internazionali BNL d'Italia will be staged on Rome's red clay September 14th-21st.

While Roland Garros announced it will cap daily attendance at 11,500, Italian Federation officials said they were taken by surprise when government health officials ruled the tournament must proceed without spectators. Binaghi called it "a huge injustice."

"The damage is enormous. It is for our Federation and certainly for our members of the sport and health company," Binaghi said in a press conference today. "It is for players who will not be able to have the support of the public, of all our fans. It is economically for the companies that would have worked for the International BNL of Italy and for all those of the induced: I am referring to the installers, the service providers, the hotels, the restaurants, the taxi drivers, the traders.

"But a huge damage, more generally, for all the other regions. Because if they had told us in time that this would be the orientation, as they did in Cincinnati, we would have moved the tournament. We could have played it in Genoa, where there is a ready-made plant and the largest Challenger in Italy is contested. We could have played it in Puglia, for example, where over time there was a women's edition of the Internationals."

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal plans to play Rome.

On the women's side, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty announced she is opting out of the entire European clay-court schedule due to Coronavirus concerns. Reigning women's champion Karolina Pliskova is scheduled to return to Rome and defend her title.

Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia Facebook