V. Williams stays positive despite auto-immune disease

Updated: 2013-10-01 15:54


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BEIJING - Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, has missed eight months in the past two years due to auto-immune disorder Sjogren Syndrome, but she showed encouraging signs this season, meaning that she still has what it takes to bring down any opponent.

The American pulled off a stellar performance in Tokyo last week, beating world number two Victoria Azarenka and winning a pair of marathons against Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard to reach the semifinals, where she was just barely edged by Petra Kvitova.

Now she is hoping to score more at the China Open which started in the Chinese capital here on September 28.

"Perhaps I don't have the same health as my opponents, but I just get out there and hold my head high no matter what, and I try not to think about it. I just can't go out onto the court with any fear," said Williams on Tuesday.

"The motivation for me is that I have a lot left to give. I haven't had a lot of good luck, so I know my luck's bound to turn. And when I sit at home and see tennis on TV, I know I can be out there.

Asked about dealing better with Sjogren Syndrome, she said physically it's getting better. "Since I came back to the tour last year, I've always been trying new things to improve myself, always trying something new, always trying to get an edge.

"In the beginning I tried traditional medicine and different things, but I didn't think I was getting results, so I tried more untraditional things, and as of late I feel like I've been seeing better results with that. So for me the key has been to keep trying different things. It's like a tennis match - sometimes some things work and some things don't, and you just have to be patient with everything and keep fighting.

"So stay healthy, learn from the past, live in the moment and look forward to the future."

The China Open, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, will end on October 6.