Rafael Nadal withdraws from Rio 2016 Olympics due to Zika fears

Milos Raonic pulls out of Rio Olympics due to Zika fears

Rafael Nadal was due to return to his home country where he has been battling for Olympic gold, but the Spanish superstar has announced his withdrawal due to Zika fears.

Nadal, who was due to play Nov. 11 against David Goffin at the BnF Arena in Madrid, will return to Rio for rehabilitation on the condition that he does not play competitive tennis. He is not expected to play in the season-ending clay-court event.

“When I first heard I was in danger, I was on the phone to my team for an hour or two,” Nadal wrote on his Facebook page. “I was happy to have such a magnificent team behind me. The people of the world have shown to me how much they love me. I hope they will take care of my health when I return to play.”

In an open letter posted on the same page, Nadal’s manager Marcelo Lapanha called Nadal’s decision “the best solution” and suggested that his withdrawal was simply a precaution to avoid possible complications.

In June, the International Olympic Committee gave the green light for the Games to go ahead in the summer, following the World Health Organization’s approval for the Games to take place.

The Olympic tennis circuit has been marred by the Zika fiasco where more than a dozen players, including Venus Williams, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick, have lost their places at the Olympics.

Zika has been linked to rare birth defects in unborn children among other ailments, with health officials in Brazil, the host nation, calling the outbreak an “international health emergency.”

The Rio 2016 Olympics open on August 5.

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