Facing Health Concerns, Venus Williams Wins At French Open

Venus Williams faces challenges off the court.

Venus Williams, in her first Grand Slam match since revealing in August she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, overcame a slow start Sunday to beat 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

The seven-time major champion did not look excited to be on the court, hardly smiling after many of her 41 winners. But Williams, 31, laughed a lot during her news conference, especially when she discussed her health as ”definitely an adventure and journey; it’s life happening.”

An autoimmune disease is a case of mistaken identity, when the body begins attacking its own healthy tissue. Autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

”A lot of it, I have to figure it out. It’s physical and emotional and all kinds of different things. Mental,” Williams said of her medical condition. ”It’s a big accomplishment for me to be here right now.”


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