Williams returns with Olympics in mind
Originally published on: 19/03/12 10:18
Venus Williams returns to singles competition this week for the first time in more than six months – with a place in the Olympic Games her main target for the year. The five-times Wimbledon champion, who has not played a singles match since last year’s US Open, has been given a wild card to play in the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
Williams, who has dropped to No.134 in the world rankings, revealed last year that she has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an incurable auto-immune disease that causes joint pain, numbness and fatigue. The 31-year-old American has been taking medication, some of which can take six months to have an effect. “You just have to find what works best,” Williams said. “It’s definitely a realâlife experience, for sure. My life is going to be different, but I’m glad to know what’s wrong with me so I can get better.”
Having worked hard on her fitness, Williams is now ready to return to competition at the Miami tournament, which she regards as her hometown event. Nevertheless, her main target is the Olympic Games at the All England Club.
“The big push for me is the Olympics this year, so I can get back on the court and get my ranking up,” Williams said. “If I’m healthy, I’m not worried about my ranking. I think I can hit the ball. It’s just about my body co-operating. It’s about being able to play matches in a row.”
In her only competitive appearance since September Williams played doubles for the United States alongside Liezel Huber in the Fed Cup against Belarus last month. “She was great,” Huber said. “She was in great spirits, she practised very well, she struck the ball very well and she moved well.”
Huber added: “She knows her health. She is obviously getting advice on how hard to push herself and what not to do. The medication takes a while to kick in.”