By Josh Kramer
Last year at this time, Venus Williams was struggling to cope with a viral autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. She was unable to participate in either of the two major tour stops in Toronto or Cincinnati, and forced to pull out in the second round of the US Open. Most fully expected the tennis career of Venus Williams to be about over. A year later Venus is still dealing with Sjogren’s, but she also continues to provide inspiration for those suffering from illness (especially Sjogren’s) all over the globe. Today, for at least one day, the Venus Williams we once knew was back. The Grandstand at the lovely Lindner Tennis Center in Mason (Cincinnati), OH was given a show that made things seem like it was the year 2001 again.
Dealing with a chronic illness is no easy task for anyone. Continuing on with one’s profession, especially one as demanding as professional tennis just adds to the difficulty. Now I am not naive enough to think that the Venus Williams who captured seven Grand Slam singles titles and held the number one ranking in the world will ever return. Venus not only is suffering from a serious autoimmune disease, she is also 32-years-old, which is dinosaur age for a tennis player. But watching her at least for one day gut out a grueling 2 hours and 33 minutes long match against the defending US Open champion (Samantha Stosur) is truly refreshing.
Venus may be the second best of the Williams’ sisters. She is fine with that. In Cincinnati though, Venus is the favorite sister. After watching a very disinterested looking Serena struggle against the lesser of the Radwanska sisters and then lose to Angelique Kerber today, Venus has to be the crowd favorite. What Venus Williams is doing is truly remarkable. I would love to see her make a deep run at the US Open and drift off into the sun.
Venus has already proven herself in every way imaginable as a player. Now she has become a shining light for the sport of tennis. Women’s tennis these days is in need of a true star. No I am not talking about a star due to her looks, but a star that fans can truly look up to and appreciate. That star is Venus Williams.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.