Rio de Janeiro - Spanish tennis stars
Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer insisted on Monday they were unworried by
Brazil's Zika virus outbreak as they prepare to compete at the Rio Open ATP
tournament this week.
"I'm not at all afraid," Nadal,
29, told a press conference. "I go out at night, and I know there's a
risk, but I'm just happy to be back here again.
"If I get sick well then that's just
bad luck," insisted the 14-time Grand Slam winner.
"I can see for myself that people here
are going about their business as if everything was okay, so things can't be
"People are going to the beach, going
out for walks, having dinner in restaurants," the world number five
Ferrer, ranked sixth in the world, said he
had been reassured by Brazil's efforts to wipe out the mosquitoes which carry
"We've been told that everything
possible has been done so that there will be no mosquitoes, which is
comforting," he said.
"We've been wearing long trousers at
night but I'm not getting obsessed by the whole thing."
Brazil has been most affected by the
outbreak that has spread rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean, with
1.5 million people in the country infected since early 2015.
While it causes only mild flu-like symptoms
in most people, scientists suspect when it strikes a pregnant woman, it can
cause her baby to be born with microcephaly, or an abnormally small head.
"The whole thing seems to have been
blown out of proportion," Nadal said.
"The reality is that we are here in
Rio for an international tennis tournament and I'm here and I can see that
everything looks totally normal," he insisted.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on
Saturday vowed that the virus would not jeopardize the Rio Olympics in August.