Venus Williams has had to withdraw from the US Open (tennis) being held at Flushing Meadows, NY-USA Grand Slam after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjögren's Syndrome. Williams's quest for a third U.S. Open title ended abruptly after being the 2000 and 2001 champion.

Williams withdrew on Tuesday before her second-round match against No. 22 rated Sabine Lisicki of Germany. Venus has said that she had encountered many months of symptoms before a diagnosis was forthcoming. Some of the symptoms included, debilitating joint pain, swelling, numbness and then fatigue especially in the hands she told Good Morning America's Elizabeth Vargas yesterday.

Apart from the US Open Venus also had other tennis engagements in Uzbekistan, Canada, China, South Korea, and Japan for the month of September.

Sjögren's Syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person's white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. The disease chiefly affects women and usually does so within their forties.

The syndrome can result in "sicca complex": dry eyes, dry mouth (keratoconjunctivitis sicca, xerostomia). systemic manifestations include arthralgias/arthritis, subclinical diffuse interstitial lung disease, renal disease, palpable purpura, systemic vasculitis, lymphoma, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia.

The US Open

The US Open is held annually in August and September over a two-week period. It is the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three are the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.