NEW YORK, U.S. – Venus Williams indicated that she had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes high fatigue and joint pain at home. She therefore had to withdraw from the U.S. International on Wednesday.
The American who won the tournament in New York twice in the past has declined to pursue before playing her second round match.
In a statement, she said she had recently learned she was suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic disease that affects her energy level.
The 31-year-old American has withdrawn this summer because she was not feeling well.
In her first game in two months Monday, Williams defeated Vesna Dolonts 6-4, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows.
She had to face 22nd-seeded Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday.
“I enjoyed playing my first match here, and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to,” Williams said in a statement released by the tournament. “I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.”
“I’m really disappointed to have to step back from the International of the United States this year,” she said.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic disease of autoimmune origin. This syndrome reached the glands that normally produce lubricating fluids. One of the most common symptoms is abnormal dryness of the eyes and mouth. Approximately four million Americans suffer from this disease.
According to Dr. John Fitzgerald, director of clinical rheumatology at UCLA, in some rare cases the syndrome can cause arthritis and joint pain. Fitzgerald is not related to Williams and does not know how she feels symptoms or medical history. However, he believes that if Williams is bothered by the usual symptoms, “it should not endanger her life or career.”
Williams arrived at the National Tennis Center Billie Jean King a few hours before the scheduled time for the start of her match and tried to warm up by hitting some balls on Wednesday.
When Williams left the site of the International shortly before 17 hours, she was asked if she would meet the press. She smiled, waved her hand and shook her head indicating “no.” It is embedded in a cart and left.
“We all came expecting to see her play today (Wednesday). She was preparing for her match, “said Williams’s agent, Carlos Fleming.
“I hope it is correct, said Fleming. And I hope she is healthy and she will feel better. ”
Lisicki said she had seen Williams on the practice courts and in the locker room and expected to play match – until the referee in charge of the tournament announced abandonment.
“She’s a tough girl, and I think she’ll come back. You know, it would be unfortunate if she couldn’t,” Lisicki said. “Serena and Venus both are amazing players, and it’s nice to have them in the women’s sport. I hope she comes back.”