Sports / Tennis

Zika no worry for Zverev

By Agence France Presse In Washington (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-20 07:50

Australian top seed Samantha Stosur, defending Washington Open champion Sloane Stephens and German teen sensation Alexander Zverev are setting aside Zika virus fears to compete at the Rio Olympics.

But Sam Querrey, who upset world No 1 Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, isn't going to Brazil because it just isn't that big a deal to him.

Differing views over the mosquito-borne Zika virus and the rash of recent tennis withdrawals from Rio came out Monday on the opening day of the ATP and WTA event, the first hardcourt stop on the path to the US Open.

For the 19-year-old Zverev, who at No 27 in the world has become the youngest man to crack the top 30 since Djokovic in 2006, the Olympics is a dream come true - even though he has previously overcome severe illness after a bug bite.

"I was at the US Open and something bit me," Zverev said. "I'm going to be very careful because of that in Rio. I only won one match the rest of the year. My leg got very swollen and I was really sick with fever, lost a lot of weight, couldn't eat.

"You think about it, that's quite a serious thing. You don't want to get something, but the Olympics is a very big event - a dream come true. A lot of people have pulled out because of Zika, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Stosur agreed. "It's not something you want to take lightly," she said after beating Russian qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-0.

"Other people say there are going to be far worse things going on than Zika. It's about being smart, following all the guidelines. I've had all the vaccinations. It certainly has entered my mind this time around."

Stephens, a 23-year-old American set to make her Olympic debut, said: "I'm kind of scared but I'm not having any kids any time soon so I should be OK."

(China Daily 07/20/2016 page23)

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