20
Dec
11

Venus Williams has withdrawn from the ASB Classic in Auckland next month because of ongoing health issues.

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The former world number one has been receiving treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome which can cause fatigue and joint pain. According to the tournament’s official website, after playing a number of recent exhibition matches Williams told her agent Carlos Fleming she was not ready to play in Auckland. ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer said: “We are disappointed to have lost a player of her calibre. While withdrawals of this nature are part and parcel of sport, we sincerely feel for the fans who will also be disappointed by the news of Venus’ withdrawal. “Next month’s ASB Classic field is one of the strongest in the tournament’s history with four players in the top 20, the eight seeds in the top 30 and all 24 direct entries in the top 70 in the world. “This is still an exceptional field despite the withdrawal of Venus Williams.” Palmer added: “Only last month she was reported saying she was looking forward to her first tournament of the year in Auckland and had heard great things about the ASB Classic. Her goal was to play a full schedule next year.”

With the Australian Open due to start on January 16, it is looking increasingly unlikely the American will participate.

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