World No.8 Tomas Berdych pulls out of Olympics due to Zika

Tomas Berdych has pulled out of the Rio Olympics after consulting with his family.  Picture: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Tomas Berdych has pulled out of the Rio Olympics after consulting with his family. Picture: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
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World No.8 Tomas Berdych is the latest player to pull out of the Olympics, citing concerns over the Zika virus.

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.

He follows world No.7 Milos Raonic and women’s No.5 Simona Halep in withdrawing from the Games, which get under way on 5 August.

Berdych said in a statement on Twitter: “I am very sorry to announce that I will not take part in this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“It was a hard decision for me to take after a long and painstaking discussion with my dearest. It’s purely my personal decision but I still feel a need to give at least one of the serious reasons leading to this step to my supporters and fans.

“It is becauce of the Zika virus spread in the country of the Olympics. As I have founded a family recently, to limit health risks towards my nearest is the utmost priority. I apologise to all of you who are disappointed. I do believe that if you take a deeper account of my reasons you will understand that I have done it out of the responsibility for my family. I wish the Czech team a big success and I hope that I will soon be honoured to defend the Czech national colours again.”

Berdych joins a number of leading male players in choosing not to go to the Olympics, 24 hours after Raonic pulled out.

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.

Golf’s list of participants has also been decimated by a raft of withdrawals due to Zika with Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy among more than 20 male players to have decided against competing in Brazil.