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Venus’ career in doubt

DIAGNOSIS: Venus Williams

VENUS WILLIAMS’ tennis career has been thrown into doubt after it was revealed that she is suffering from the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome.

The diagnosis came after the American had to withdraw from the US Open prior to her second-round match on Wednesday.

Williams, 31, came into the tournament not having played since Wimbledon because of the illness, which she had not named until now, and she did not appear entirely comfortable during her first-round win over Vesna Dolonts.

In a statement the elder of the two tennis-playing sisters said: ‘I'm really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year's US Open.

'I have been recently diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an auto-immune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain.

'I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right 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.'

Sjogren's Syndrome affects as many as four million people in the United States, the vast majority of them women, and there is no known cure.

The rheumatic disease attacks and destroys the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva, causing dryness of the eyes and mouth and increased fatigue, and can lead to other more serious conditions.

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