If you are an avid fan of tennis, then you know about Venus Williams and her sister Serena. Even if you are someone who rarely ever watches the sport, then you still know who the Williams sisters are. As a matter of fact, if you are someone who hasn’t been living in a cave since 1999, then you should know who the Williams sisters are. You should also know that even recent as this past London Olympics 2012, Venus and Serena won the gold in competition. You more than likely know of many of the other accomplishments. Most recently Serena Williams dominated the US Open, winning another major. While her sister didn’t win or even make it to the semifinals, she competed and gave it her all once again, providing another captivating performance on the court while she deals with personal hardships off the court. You’ve heard of their successes, but one thing you might not have heard about is Venus Williams’ recent diagnosis and ongoing fight with Sjögren’s syndrome. Still despite Venus Williams illness she continues to play strong.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease where the immune cells attack the glands that produce tears and saliva. Some cases can also cause fatigue and sickness to the victim. This is a disease that can be painful for any person, so imagine being an athlete of Venus’s caliber having to compete while going through the symptoms. Sounds hard doesn’t it? Now imagine her suffering from fatigue caused by this incurable disease since 2007, but still working hard to win multiple championships from that time until the time of diagnosis and still playing as well as winning after that? That truly shows the dedication, will power and strength of her personality. It is this amount of determination that has made her a champion in the past.
Yes, the Venus Williams illness has taken a toll on her body and affected her performance on the tennis courts, forcing her to be absent from many games because of her illness. It even caused her to fall from her number one world ranking down to number 58, but she continues to strive on, for the most part visibly undeterred. Most recently she is now ranked number 40 in the world, slowly aiming to return to the top. Retirement doesn’t appear to be on the horizon either. You should know better than to think she would stop now, not with the reemergence of her sister, not with championships still to be won. Yes, she did have to drop out of the French Open because of an injury. But don’t count her out for the rest of the year. She led Washington Kastles to their second World Team Tennis title just a few days ago.
Throughout the years, Venus Williams has already made herself a household name in the tennis world. Some may even say that she has made herself a legend of the sport already. The stats may mean little to a non tennis fan, but she has seven Grand Slam titles, 43 career singles titles, 4 Olympic gold medals, and another 13 Grand Slam doubles titles. If not for her sister, she’d probably stand alone as the best African American female to ever play the sport.
With that being said, we know that even though she is battling this disease, she will continue to push through and win more titles and championships in the future. Her hard work and determination has made her a champion already and will continue to make her a future champion. To Venus Williams from Parlé Magazine, good luck and may you remain as healthy as possible throughout the rest of your career.
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