In some unfortunate news, Venus Williams made the announcement yesterday that she has withdrawn from the US Open.
In an official statement she reveals,
“I have been recently diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain.”
“I think I’ve had issues with Sjogren’s for a while. It just wasn’t diagnosed,” Williams said. “The good news for me is now I know what’s happening.”
“I had trouble with stamina,” Williams said, adding that her doctor diagnosed her with exercise-induced asthma four years ago. But it wasn’t until this summer, when she developed more definite symptoms, that an accurate diagnosis was made.
On making the decision to withdraw Williams states,
“It was a tough decision, but at the same time I’ve had to come to accept what I’m going through……I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s US Open”.
“… I just felt like, ‘Okay, I could walk out on the court. I’m a tough woman, I’m a tough athlete, I’ve played through a lot of things.’ But what kind of match it would be?”
The decision was also bittersweet. In her first match, Williams won against Vesna Dolonts 6-4, 6-3. On the match Venus added,
“I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. ‘I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.”
Williams’ sister and fellow tennis champ, Serena Williams, faced her own health scare earlier this year when she was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism — a blood clot in her lungs.
In comparison to her own health Venus added,
“Serena’s conditions helped me to feel a new life on life in itself. So this, right now, I think will help me to feel grateful for everything that I have. And at the same time it makes me want to get up and fight harder every single day.”
Although there are no known cure for the disease Sjogren Syndrome is manageable.
“Sjogren’s is something you live with your whole life,” Williams said. “The good news for me is now I know what’s happening after spending years not knowing… I feel like I can get better and move on.”