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Friday, April 6, 2012

For Venus Williams, Time is Toughest Opponent

Our week at the 2012 Family Circle Cup continues!
It was a power on power match up, one that she would usually dominate.  Today, however, it was not in the cards for Venus Williams as she grinded out a tough match against Samantha Stosur.

She showed flashes of  her former brilliance, taking the second set 6-4.  She displayed the power she was known for when she swept into the headlines as a genuine phenom back in the late 90s and in her prime.  She also showed signs that it just was not there.

She was frustrated.  Another serve did not hit the spot she was aiming for.  Another volley lofted farther than it should have.  Another cross court shot barely escaped her racquet head.  She was close, but she was not all there.

There was not much riding on the line for Venus as she lost to Sam Stosur 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 on Friday.  It dashed the hopes and dreams of most in attendance of a Williams v Williams semi-final, but the match was about growth for Venus.

In 2011 Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sj√∂gren's syndrome, an auto immune disease that effects the glands that produce saliva and tears, as well as possibly effecting the kidneys, lungs, liver, and nervous system.  It's greatest known effect is an increase in fatigue.  "I'd say, looking back, it probably effected me as far back as 2004." Venus stated in her post match press conference. 

She's felt the effets of the disease and is dealing with it, despite the slide in her standings (now ranked at 70).  "I never thought I'd be so happy to see 70." she said with a laugh to the crowd before her.  "It's something that will take time to return from but eventually I'll find the marks I did before.  It's a process."

It's a process that's showing results.  Prior to the Family Circle Cup Venus was ranked 87th heading into the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami where, as in Charleston, she reached the quarterfinals before bowing out.

Her short term target is clear.  "Right now I'm focused on the Olympics." she stated.  Her rise in the ranks, likely to continue after another strong showing in Charleston, will help make sure she reaches that goal.  The long term?  Health and maintainence.  That's another opponent that Venus is likely to beat.
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