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1ST LEAD Zika fear drives Raonic, Halep from Rio Games By dpa correspondents

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Toronto (dpa) - Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic on Friday announced he would not compete in next month‘s Rio Olympics due to fears of the Zika virus.

The Canadian joins fellow players including Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey and the Australian pair of Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios in missing Rio.

Shortly afterwards at a WTA event in Bucharest, number five Simona Halep said she would not be going to the Games for fear of contracting the mosquito-borne disease that can lead to birth defects.

"The reason for my decision is the concern regarding the danger posed by the Zika virus," Halep posted on Facebook. "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."

Earlier, Raonic issued a statement explaining his decision.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my withdrawal from participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," Raonic said. "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."

The 25-year-old called the move "a difficult, personal choice and I do not wish for it to impact the decision of any other athlete heading to the Games.

"I‘m very proud to have competed for Canada at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and on the world stage at several Davis Cup events. I look forward to cheering on Team Canada this summer."

Canada chose veteran Daniel Nestor to play doubles in place of Raonic along side partner Vasek Pospisil.

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