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Many professional athletes have opted to skip the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, due to the rising fears surrounding the Zika virus.

According to USA Today, tennis powerhouse Serena Williams said she thinks it’s “sad” that so many athletes are missing out on the opportunity.

Her statement comes after the world’s No. 1 golfer Jason Day announced on Tuesday that he will not be participating in the Summer Olympic Games. This will be the first time in over a century that the sport of golf will be included in the Olympic competitions.

Williams, who is a returning Olympic champion in both the singles and doubles competition, said that as long as she is aware of the situation, everything will work out fine.

“I think for me, the most important thing is knowledge and protection, to know what I’m going into,” said Williams. “It is really one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. It’s difficult for someone that is in a sport like golf because their main goal, like tennis, is to win Slams.”

Although the 34-year-old thinks it’s unfortunate that several other athletes will miss out, she understands their concerns. “I do, I think it is sad. But at the same time I obviously understand where they’re coming from and how they feel. Part of me feels that way, too, which is why I’m going in, you know, with a whole mindset of how do I protect myself, how do I prevent and also raise awareness for this. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it,” she said.

Athletes John Isner, Sam Querrey, Fernando Verdasco, and Dominic Thiem have decided not to compete in Rio as well.

Williams takes pride in being an Olympic athlete. “My experience has been really amazing at the Olympics. I really loved going out there and competing, really just, you know, standing out there and being an Olympic athlete,” she concluded.

SOURCE: USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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