(Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
A day after it appeared that Venus Williams’ career might be over as the result of her recent bout with Sjögren’s syndrome, the tennis star vows she will return to the game.
Williams was recently diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, which influenced her decision to pull out of the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday. The joint pain and fatigue that the seven-time Grand Slam champion has played through for years got to be too much for her to endure. With her diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, Williams now understands why she suffered for so long.
Williams said she began to realize that something was wrong in recent months after experiencing swelling, numbness and “debilitating” fatigue, all symptoms of the disease, according to an Associated Press story.
“Sjogren's is something you live with your whole life," Williams said on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. "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."
And that means the 31-year-old plans to resume her tennis career. Williams says she could have continued in the U.S. Open, but she didn’t want to risk not being at her best. She won her first round match Monday 6-4, 6-3.
“OK, 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,” Williams said on the show. “But what kind of match would it be? It was a tough decision, but at the same time I've had to come to accept what I'm going through.”
This article contains information from the Associated Press.