Spain’s Rafael Nadal hits a return against Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos during their men’s singles first round match on day one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Greg Wood / — IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE —

Up to 1,000 fans will be allowed to watch each of the final two days of the Italian Open tennis tournament as Italy begins to open up stadiums for sports enthusiasts.

Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora  gave the assurance on Friday.

Professional sports events in Italy have been played without fans since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although some supporters have been allowed into pre-season soccer friendlies.

“At last, starting from the semi-finals and finals of the Italian Open), a thousand spectators will be able to attend all the sports competitions that will be held in the open air,” Spadafora told reporters.

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He said the fans must  respect the rules on spacing, mask wearing  and seat reservations.

The minister said it was the first, but significant step toward returning, hopefully soon, to normality in sports.

The semi-finals of the men’s and women’s tournaments will be on Sunday with the respective finals on Monday.

Spadafora did not make any mention of the Serie A football championship which starts at the weekend. (Reuters/NAN)

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