Tennis great Venus Williams has been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome aka syndrome de sjogren, after symptoms pointed to the condition. Sadly, she's pulled out of the U.S. Open Tennis tournament.
The two-time women's champion and Grand Slam champion seven times, made the startling announcement today, after performing well in the Open. In a statement to the media and her fans today, she said:
"I'm really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year's U.S. Open. I have recently been 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."
Essentially, it is a condition that affects about 4 million Americans, according to a USA Today report.
In fact, 9 out of 10 patients newly diagnosed like Venus Williams are women. It is a condition in which the body's own defenses attacks it using white blood cells.
The symptoms manifest as dry eyes and mouth, and joint pain. However, it can wage an attack on the internal organs of the body like the liver, lungs, and other vital areas of the body.
Sjogren's syndrome can make you really tired, and playing tennis requires a lot of energy to be competitive. Obviously, this is a tough decision to make for a player who once dominated center court at Wimbledon and the US Open matches.
"I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but 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," she said.
Like her younger sister, Serena Williams, Venus Williams is dealing with health issues that is impacting her game. Recall that Serena had a near death experience with a blood clot on her lungs. Thankfully, she is back from her death-bed.
Vee hasn't played much in 2011 since she fell in the fourth round in Wimbledon. Perhaps, the fatigue was the reason she hasn't shown much in tennis tournaments.
Hopefully, the diagnosis and symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome does not sideline Venus Williams too long. Undoubtedly, she is receiving the best treatment money can buy.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons