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Venus Williams' Withdrawal From U.S. Open Caused by Sjogren Syndrome Diagnosis

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Sep. 1 2011, Published 6:32 a.m. ET

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Venus Williams appeared on Good Morning America today to explain to her fans exactly why she had to withdraw from the U.S. Open — she suffers from Sjogren syndrome.

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Venus explained on GMA today that she's struggled with symptoms of Sjogren syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease, for years but was only diagnosed this summer.

"I think I've had issues with Sjogren's for a while. It just wasn't diagnosed," Venus said. "The good news for me is now I know what's happening."

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"I had trouble with stamina," the tennis player explained of her symptoms. "I had swelling and numbness and fatigue, which was really debilitating. I just didn't have any energy."

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But dropping out of the U.S. Open was a very difficult decision for Venus to make. Deciding to drop out of the U.S. Open wasn't easy, Williams said.

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"… I just felt like, 'Okay, I could walk out on the court. I'm a tough woman, I'm a tough athlete, I've played through a lot of things.' But what kind of match it would be?" she asked. "It was a tough decision, but at the same time I've had to come to accept what I'm going through."

"Sjogren's is something you live with your whole life," Venus explained. "The good news for me is now I know what's happening after spending years not knowing ... I feel like I can get better and move on."

Does Venus plan to return to tennis? "Absolutely," she said.

Watch Venus' interview over at ABCNews.com!

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