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Rafael Nadal said he was not frightened by the Zika virus as he prepares in Brazil — the center of the viral outbreak — for this week’s Rio Open tournament and the city’s Olympics in less than six months.

Nadal won Olympic gold in the Beijing Olympics Claude Giroux Canada Jersey , but missed London with an injury.

“I’m doing the things the people have told me,” Nadal said on Monday. “I’m going out at night. I’m not scared. I’m not worried about this.

“If it happens, it’s bad luck.”

Nadal is the top-seeded man in the tournament and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer is No. 2. Both said they were confident the tournament was doing all it could to control the mosquitoes that spread the virus.

The virus is being linked to birth defects, and pregnant women have been cautioned not to travel to the country.

“I don’t know how serious the situation is,” Nadal said. “I see people living here totally normally. I see people on the streets, on the beach and in the restaurants. Things are going on like normal.”

Brazil began a campaign of spraying pesticides and distributing informational leaflets with more than 200,000 soldiers spread out across the country.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said “we’re at war against the mosquito” and she has repeatedly guaranteed the outbreak will not derail the Olympics that open August 5.

Ferrer said he’ll wear long sleeves and long trousers when he goes out socially in the morning and evening. “I’ll try to take those precautions, but I’m not obsessed about it,” Ferrer said.

Both Spaniards were asked to reply to comments last week by Spanish swimmer Mireia Belmonte, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in London in 2012, who said she “would not attend” the Olympics if she thinks her health is at risk.

She echoed American women’s national soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo who said last week “if the Olympics were today, I would not go.”

Neither Nadal nor Ferrer elaborated on Belmonte’s comments. “I have talked to the local players here, and they are not giving it much importance,” Ferrer said. “There is a lot still to be known about Zika and nothing is 100 percent certain.”

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic became the first teenager in seven years to reach the top 10 of the WTA rankings after she climbed to ninth in the world on Monday.

A run to the final at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy ensured that Bencic, 18, became the first woman aged under 20 to enter the top 10 since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009. Maria Sharapova’s triumph at the 2006 US Open was the last time a teenaged player won a slam.

" "

By Eric J. Lyman

ROME, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The foreign ministers of the six founding members of the European Union this week recommitted themselves to constructing an ""ever closer union"" at a time when the founding principles of the 28-nation bloc is under threat from internal divisions and a rising tide of migrants.

The summit featuring the foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands took place in Rome this week. The location was a tribute to the 1957 Treaty of Rome that created the European Economic Community, which evolved into the European Union.

""We firmly believe that the European Union remains the best answer we have for today's challenges and allows for different paths of integration,"" the ministers said in a joint statement. ""We remain resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the people of Europe.""

The debate over whether the European Union should seek to deepen ties between member states or to instead widen the reach of the EU dates back to the earliest days of the bloc.

The latest pledge to deepen ties comes during what Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said during the summit was ""without a doubt"" one of Europe's ""hardest moments since its foundation almost 60 years ago.""

Europe is caught in an economic malaise that dates back nearly a decade, as it tries to integrate tens of thousands of economic and political migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Just 19 of the 28 EU member states use the common euro currency, and the largest EU state outside the eurozone, Britain, is set to vote on whether or not to remain in the EU later this year.

In several countries, euro-skeptic political parties are gaining influence, including in Italy, which hosted the summit and where the separatist opposition party, the Northern League, this week called for the EU Schengen agreement on open borders to be scrapped.

The fate of the Schengen agreement was one of the central issues in Rome. The agreement allows passport-free travel between the 26 European countries.

Though the Schengen Agreement makes it easier for Europeans to travel between countries, public opinion in Europe is turning against it, mostly due to the fact that it makes it easier for migrants to move around Europe and the threat of terror attacks like the one that rocked Paris on November 13 last year.

But the leaders who gathered in Rome said they were committed to upholding the Schengen agreement.

The leaders commit to ""fighting the enemies of our fundamental values,"" the ministers said in a communique. ""We confirmed the need to further reinforce action against terror threats in full compliance with human rights and the rule of law.""


Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns the ball to Sloane Stephens of the United States during the semifinal match of women's singles at the 2017 Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, Aug. 12, 2017. Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark won 2-0 and advanced to the final. (XinhuaZou Zheng)

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