American Venus Williams has announced her withdrawal from the 2012 Australian Open, due to the lingering effects of Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that has caused the seven-time Grand Slam winner severe fatigue and joint pain. Venus' last appearance was an Aug. 29 win at the 2011 U.S. Open, a 6-4, 6-3 win over Russian Vesna Dolonts. Two days later, she bowed out of the Open after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome.
“I regret to announce that I am withdrawing from the 2012 Australian Open," said Venus in a statement on her Web site. "After several months of training and treatment, I am making steady progress to top competitive form. My diet and fitness regimen have allowed me to make great strides in terms of my health and I am very close to being ready to return to WTA competition. I have every intention to return to the circuit in February.”
Since reaching the semifinals at the 2010 U.S. Open, Williams has played only 11 matches.