Raonic withdraws from Rio tennis, cites Zika

Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:45pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic has decided to withdraw from next month's Rio Olympics due in part to fears over the Zika virus, the Canadian world number seven said on Friday.

The big-serving Raonic, who lost to Andy Murray in the men's championship match at the All England Club on Sunday, is the first tennis player to pull out of the Aug 5-21 Olympics due to concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my withdrawal from participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," Raonic, 25, said in a statement issued by Tennis Canada.

"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."

Raonic's announcement came hours after he was named by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as one of the entrants in the singles draw at the Olympics.

The Zika virus, which the World Health Organization says is spreading rapidly in the Americas, has been linked to severe birth defects in infants born to infected women, and possible neurological problems in adults.

Raonic joins a growing list of athletes to have pulled out of the Rio Games over health concerns triggered by the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, including a number of high-profile male golfers.

"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," said Raonic.   Continued...

Jul 10 2016; London, United Kingdom; Milos Raonic (CAN) in action during his match against Andy Murray (GBR) on day 14 of the 2016 The Championships Wimbledon. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports