Venus Williams Needs to Retire

September 1, 2011 – 3:20 pm by Ashley Lough

Shortly before her second-round match Wednesday, Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open due to a recently-diagnosed autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome. The disease causes fatigue and joint pain, something Williams has experienced for quite some time but with no clear diagnosis. Until this week.

Sjogren’s Syndrome  ̶  in a explanation that shows true medical ignorance  ̶  is an illness where disease-fighting (white) blood cells attack glands that release important stuff externally (like sweat). Sjogren’s causes fatigue, joint pain and dryness (think mouth and eyes). There is no known cure, and the only treatment is symptomatic (taking drugs to ease pain).

Such symptoms have lead Williams to play just 11 matches in the last year. After withdrawing from the Open, Williams will drop out of the top 100, where at 31, she’s older than all but four players.

Several medical-types stepped forward to say that Sjogren’s is not necessarily career ending. There was likely a sense of relief in the Williams camp when the plaguing issue was given a name and face, but how can a world-class tennis star possibly continue a career with a disease that has been described as “energy-sucking?”

The longest tennis match in history was just last year between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, coming in at 11 hours, five minutes and spread over three days. Venus may have an excellent mental game, but that will not be enough to get her through a marathon match, should she find herself in one. She can’t will herself more energy.

Injuries can be rehabilitated. Trainers can whip you back into shape. Practice builds stamina. But an autoimmune disease causing fatigue and joint pain for a 31-year-old tennis player is check mate.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Venus Williams Needs to Retire”

  2. How very sad for tennis and women’s sports. Venus will be missed.

    By ScottieJ0e on Sep 3, 2011

  3. oh yes venus will surely be missed!!

    By judith on Sep 5, 2011

  4. she will retire after the 2012 wimbledon. i would place good money on that. she’s landed her name in all time greats – and got a huge pot of money, so she shouldn’t be upset when the time comes.

    By lewis spillane on Dec 24, 2011

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    By ルイヴィトン on Jul 19, 2012

  6. Joint pain can be caused by dislocated joint or some damage to it. Better get an x-ray on the affected area to know the cause. ,;;,”

    With appreciation http://healthmedicinelab.com/stress-rash/

    By Virgil Nessmith on Aug 9, 2012

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