Venus Williams Withdraws From 2011 U.S. Open Due To Illness

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball against Vesna Dolonts of Russia during Day One of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Venus Williams has withdrawn from the 2011 U.S. Open, citing an unspecified illness. She has been fighting a viral infection that has kept her from playing in hard-court tournaments all summer. The two-time U.S. Open champ won her first-round match relatively easily, beating Vesna Dolonts in straight sets, but apparently was not able to continue. She was supposed to play No. 22 seed Sabine Lisicki.

Williams was ranked as high as No. 2 last year, but has since been fighting injuries. The U.S. Open was just her fourth tournament in the past 12 months and she came into this ranked No. 36 in the world.

After beating Dononts, she sounded upbeat and gave little indication that she might be in for a short tournament:

"I'd be at a $50,000 challenger where I live at," she said. "I'd be at any tournament I could play. I just want to play tennis. It doesn't matter what the tournament is, I just want to play."

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