Tomas Berdych pulls out of Olympics over Zika concerns

by Steven Clarke July 21, 2016, 5:37

Halep, meanwhile, admitted that she is concerned about the risk the mosquito-borne virus poses to new-born babies as it is known to cause brain deformities.

Carlos Nuzman, the head of the organizing committee for the Rio Olympics, has tipped the lack of prize money as the main reason behind the withdrawal of the world's top four golfers from the games and not because of increasing fear of Zika virus.

"I am very sorry to announce that I will not take part in this year's Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro", he said.

Czech Tomas Berdych has become the third high-profile tennis player to withdraw from the Olympics in two days, saying his concerns over the Zika virus prompted his decision.

"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", she said.

Czech Republic's Berdych, who fell to Andy Murray in the recent Wimbledon semi-finals, says his family is his "utmost priority" and will not compete in Rio.

Dominic Thiem is the other member of the top 10 to skip the Games, while John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Feliciano Lopez and Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon conqueror Sam Querrey will all be absent, although none cited Zika as their main reason.

World number one Serena Williams, a double Olympic champion in 2012, her sister Venus and the Bryan brothers lead the U.S. tennis team named on Friday for the 2016 Rio Games. He joined Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy in also saying Zika was the main reason for making themselves unavailable for the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

The biggest sporting show-piece on earth is less than 20 days away from rolling off in a grand-style with the world's best set to dig in for precious medals and mount the medal podium as nations attempt to outdo each other for gold medals.

The 14-time Grand Slam victor has not played since pulling out of the French Open in May, reports Xinhua. There will be 64 players in the singles draws and 32 in the doubles.

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