Tennis ace Tomas Berdych has revealed that he would rather miss out on a gold medal at the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics then run the risk of contracting zika virus and potentially pass on birth defects to the children.
The Czech Republic star, who celebrated his first anniversary with wife Ester last week, said that while he may enjoy tennis for a few more years, family life will be his focus for the coming future and that going to Rio de Janeiro amid the current situation was not worth the risk.
"The rest of my life will be 60 years maybe. If something happens, it's the rest of your life with it. For one week, one tournament, you might have a sad life. That's why, even if the risks are probably small, I need to make sure. Just because of one week, to make more troubles, no," he said according to the Times Of India.
The 30-year-old, who is ranked eighth in ATP rankings along with world number seven Milos Raonic and world number nine Dominic Thiem are the highest-ranked tennis players to skip the Olympics. This could lead to some criticism and questions will also be raised over his loyalty to his country.
"It was my personal decision. There have been many thoughts about it. I hope people are accepting of my decision, which is based on the facts around. You can't make everyone satisfied. For me it was a difficult decision. Since I was a kid I have loved to play for my country. I'm not a 20-year-old anymore", he explained.
Berdych has been a successful player for his country and has led them to Davis Cup triumph twice in 2012 and 2013. He has also participated in the last three Olympics and his best performance came in 2004, where he reached the quarter-finals of the men's singles tennis event.