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Simona Halep Withdraws from 2016 Rio Olympics Due to Zika Virus Concerns

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Simona Halep of Romania plays a forehand during the Ladies Singles Quarter Finals match against Angelique Kerber of Germany on day eight of the  Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Simona Halep, the world's No. 5 women's tennis player, withdrew from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.   

According to BBC Tennis, the Romanian cited the Zika virus as her reason for not representing her country in August:

BBC Tennis @bbctennis

Simona Halep withdraws from the Rio Olympics, also due to Zika. Here's her reasoning 👇🏽 https://t.co/BOfOh2kEjk

According to BBC.com tennis correspondent Russell Fuller, Halep is the highest-ranked women's tennis player to withdraw from the Olympics and the first to admit the virus was the reason. 

In a women's game Serena Williams dominates, Halep has been a prevalent name within the tennis landscape over the past two years. 

Since 2014, she has made the quarterfinals in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments, including an appearance at the French Open final two years ago against Maria Sharapova, which she would lose in three sets. 

In 2016, Halep collected a win at the Madrid Open before falling to Samantha Stosur in the round of 16 at the Australian Open. She also made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before falling to eventual finalist Angelique Kerber. 

Halep hasn't been the first big name to withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns regarding the Zika virus. The world's No. 7 men's tennis player, Canadian Milos Raonic, who lost to Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, also withdrew from the Olympics on Friday because of the virus, via Fuller. 

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While Halep's absence will hurt women's tennis at the Olympics, other sports will suffer more from key withdrawals. For example, golf fans won't see Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy at the Olympics, as they all expressed health concerns about Brazil, via CNN.com

But for Romanians, they just lost one of their best chances at an individual medal at the Summer Olympics, as the event continues to lose some of its best athletes. 

    

Stats courtesy of WTATennis.com.

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