Tomas Berdych Withdraws from Rio 2016 Olympics Tennis Due to Zika Virus Concerns

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2016

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic wipes his face during his men's semifinal singles match against Andy Murray of Britain during their men's semifinal singles match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Tennis star Tomas Berdych has announced he will not compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics this summer due to concerns over the Zika virus. 

Berdych announced the news in a statement posted to Twitter:

The 30-year-old reached the men's singles quarter-finals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens after beating Roger Federer.

Berdych also competed in 2008 and 2012, though he was unable to progress as far in either.

Per BBC Sport, he joins fellow tennis players Milos Raonic and Simona Halep in withdrawing from the Games. Tennis writer Jose Morgado noted the significance of his withdrawal and listed the other contenders who have so far pulled out:

Rio has also seen a number of other high-profile athletes pull out, with many citing the same reason. 

Over 20 golfers—including the world's top four players—have announced they won't participate, per BBC Sport. Meanwhile, the Telegraph's Chiara Palazzo added U.S. cyclist Tejay van Garderen and basketball sensation Steph Curry to the list.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquitoes carry the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects in children conceived by those infected with it. There is no vaccine against it.

Amid the widespread concerns, the subsequent wave of withdrawals—and perhaps more yet to come with the Olympics still weeks away—could detract from the showpiece event.

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