Despite not playing at a major tournament since she withdrew from her second-round on court appearance at last year’s US Open, Venus Williams didn’t just play at this weekend’s French Open she also won her opening match.
The tennis world, and fans of the former world number 1, have been concerned for the American player since it was revealed last August that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome. A condition that can cause fatigue and joint pain, the Syndrome would be difficult enough to contend with in everyday situations let alone in an elite level tennis match, so just playing on Sunday was an achievement for the tennis star in itself.
Despite a difficult start, the 7-time Grand Slam champion quickly established herself within the game and overcame her 19-year-old Argentinean opponent Paula Ormaechea with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory. Advancing into the second round, along with six other major tennis champions, Williams told reporters that she has “just learned how to live with this (Sjogren’s Syndrome). It’s different. I have a lot to learn still.”
The 2012 season so far has been one that’s been plagued with player illnesses and casualties, with William’s fellow American player Mardy Fish undergoing heart surgery last week and Andy Murray still suffering with a back injury, so it’s fantastic to see that Williams is taking her condition completely in her stride.