Raonic to skip Olympics, cites Zika virus ‘un­cer­tainty’

Canadian ten­nis star lat­est elite ath­lete to take a pass on Rio

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canadian ten­nis star Mi­los Raonic won’t be par­tic­i­pat­ing in this sum­mer’s Olympic Games.

The res­i­dent of Thorn­hill, Ont., an­nounced Fri­day his de­ci­sion not to par­tic­i­pate in the Rio Games amid health con­cerns.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am an­nounc­ing my with­drawal from par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” he said on his Face­book page. “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.

“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. I would like to thank Ten­nis Canada and the Canadian Olympic Com­mit­tee for their on­go­ing sup­port. I am very proud to have com­peted for Canada at the Lon­don 2012 Sum­mer Olympics, and on the world stage at sev­eral Davis Cup events. I look for­ward to cheer­ing on Team Canada this sum­mer.”

Raonic, ranked No. 7 in the world, isn’t the first high-pro­file ath­lete to with­draw from the Games amid con­cerns about the Zika virus. Dustin John­son, Rory McIl­roy and Adam Scott were among a host of golfers to de­cide against com­pet­ing be­cause of health con­cerns.

“We fully re­spect Mi­los’ de­ci­sion as we are sure this is not one he made easily,” Ten­nis Canada CEO Kelly Mu­rumets said. “Mi­los rep­re­sents Canada proudly week af­ter week around the world and we look for­ward to fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties for him to join Team Canada again on the court.”

Ten­nis Canada said, pend­ing in­vi­ta­tion by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion and Canadian Olympic Com­mit­tee ap­proval, it will nom­i­nate vet­eran Daniel Nestor of Toronto to re­place Raonic in the men’s dou­bles draw to part­ner with Vasek Pospisil of Van­cou­ver.

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