Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Venus Williams withdrew suddenly from the U.S. Open on Wednesday citing an autoimmune disease known as Sjögren’s Syndrome.
The unseeded Williams had won her first-round match and was to have played No. 22 Sabine Lisicki of Germany Wednesday in the second round.
“I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s U.S. Open,” she said in a statement. “I have been recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medication 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.”
According to the Website Sjogrens.org, the hallmarks of the disease are dry eyes and dry mouth, but may “cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system.”
The site says that more than 4,000,000 Americans suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome, and that nine out of 10 patients are women.
Williams, 31, has played just 11 matches all season because of the illness and a hip injury.
A seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Williams reached the semifinals a year ago, losing to eventual champ Kim Clijsters.
Her younger sister Serena Williams remains the favorite to win the Open despite being seeded No. 28. Serena routed Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia, 6-1, 6-1, in 56 minutes Tuesday night.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.