Organisers will roll the dice on public health with a plan to allow up to 800 spectators per session at next month’s grass-and-hardcourt ATP-WTA exhibition.
The July 13-19 outing has the all-clear from local government, which will limit fans to just 200 for hardcourt matches to be played inside a disused hangar at Tempelhof airport.
Social distancing will be in force – with lessons presumably learned from Novak Djokovic’s free-for-all Adria Tour in Belgrade and Croatia.
That event was cancelled with the protagonist, his wife, his coach Goran Ivanisevic and three other players all testing positive for the virus and forced to isolate for 14 days.
Officials say they will go heavy on testing and temperature checks of players and their teams at the first event in Germany to allow crowds to gather.
They added that fans will be wearing masks and spaced apart in the stands.
“Since the whole tennis world will be looking toward Berlin and the tournaments, the participants and all of the staff must be conscious of their status as role models,” TD Edwin Weindorfer said.
Entered in the men’s field are No. 3 Dominic Thiem and seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev, who has drawn fire this week for partying in the south of France instead of virus-isolating as he had said he would despite a negative test at the Adria event.
The back-up cast includes Nick Kyrgios,German Jan-Lennard Struff, Italian teen Jannik Sinner and former ace Tommy Haas.
The women’s field comprises Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Petra Kvitova, Julia Goerges, Caroline Garcia and Andrea Petkovic.
Main photo:- Berlin Tournament Director Edwin Weindorfer