Tennis stars Raonic, Halep out of Olympics over Zika virus fears

  • Paris
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2016 15:00 IST
Romania's Simona Halep in action against Germany's Angelique Kerber. (REUTERS)

Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic and women’s world number five Simona Halep dealt the Olympics tennis tournament a double body blow when they pulled out of Rio, citing health fears over the Zika virus.

Raonic, the world number seven from Canada who was defeated by Andy Murray in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, said he had taken the decision “with a heavy heart”.

Halep, the 2014 French Open runner-up, said she too was concerned over the Zika virus and did not want to damage her hopes of having a family when she retires from playing.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my withdrawal from participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” the 25-year-old Raonic announced on his Facebook page.

“After much deliberation with my family and coaches, I am making this decision for a variety of health concerns including the uncertainty around the Zika virus.

“This was a difficult, personal choice and I do not wish for it to impact the decision of any other athlete heading to the Games.”

Halep, 24, also took to Facebook to announce her withdrawal, just hours after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had published its final list of confirmed entries for the Olympics which get underway in Rio on August 5.

“I regret to announce that I have decided I will not compete in the Olympic Games. The reason for my decision is the concern regarding the danger posed by the Zika virus,” wrote Halep.

“After several talks with doctors and my family, I concluded that the risks are too high for my career and for my health, especially as a woman.

“Family is much too important for me and I can’t risk not being able to have one of my own after my career in tennis is over.”

John Isner of the United States, Austria’s Dominic Thiem, Australian duo Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios as well as Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez have all opted, for various reasons, not to take part in the Olympics.

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