Venus Williams raised awareness about the symptoms and signs of Sjogren’s syndrome on Sunday, December 10.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a condition that causes dryness in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body, as well as fatigue, joint pain, and organ damage. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, leading to inflammation and dysfunction.
Williams, who has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals, was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011 after she had to withdraw ahead of her second-round match against Sabine Lisicki at the US Open due to severe fatigue and pain. She revealed her condition to the public and took a break from tennis to focus on her health.
After a seven-month hiatus, the 43-year-old returned to tennis in March 2012, but she initially faced difficulty regaining her previous form. However, she persevered and eventually ended her title drought in October 2012 by defeating Monica Niculescu in straight sets to capture the Luxembourg Open. This marked her first WTA title since February 2010 and the 44th of her career.
Williams shared a post from the Sjogren’s Foundation, in which a patient described her experience with the disease and how it affects her daily life.
“It’s important to know the symptoms and signs of autoimmune disease #sjogrenssyndrome,” Williams wrote on Instagram.
Venus Williams opts out of 2024 Australian Open, sets sights on March comeback
Venus Williams recently revealed her plans for the upcoming 2024 season, confirming her absence from the Australian Open at the beginning of the year.
Following a challenging 2023 campaign, where she failed to advance past the second round in any tournament, Williams has shifted her focus towards recovery and a strong comeback in March 2024.
In a recent statement, Williams acknowledged suffering an injury at the Wimbledon Championships this year, significantly impacting her performance in subsequent tournaments. She emphasized her commitment to regaining her fitness and aims for a March 2024 return to the court.
“I had a crazy fall at Wimbledon. I just slipped and I was out. I tried my best to recover for the US Open. I did not reach my form so now I am just resting until I get back. I am targeting March, that’s when the tournaments go back to the States, so my goal is to be up and running when tournaments come back to the US,” Williams said in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter).
Venus Williams is currently ranked World No. 409, as she has been out of action since the 2023 US Open, where she was defeated in straight sets by Greet Minnen in the opening round.