After weeks of anticipation building about Venus Williams playing in the ASB Classic, the lovely Vee has withdrawn. It's been a rough day.
Of course, speculation is rife by the tennis world that Queen Venus' career is over. Sure, people have said that for years which is absurd given her talent. But the latest health issues are of course another story. Sjogren's syndrome is a real disease and Venus has to best work out how she can manage it for day to day living as well as life on the tennis court.
One of the body parts most affected by this syndrome is the eyes. In addition to dryness, there's also chances of blurred vision and constant eye discomfort. It's easy to understand how she could struggle on the court if she can't see properly. Of course the fatigue and joint pain are going to be the most difficult for her to overcome on the court. It's one thing to play an exhibition match, but to play several matches back to back could be too much to ask for Venus.
I'm trying not to think the worst, but at 31 and with a serious health issue for an athlete my optimism is fading.
Of course there's a lot of disappointment in Auckland that we won't be able to see Venus in action, but personally I am so excited to welcome amazing players like Sabine, Julia, Sveta and Flavia. Plus Peng Shaui, Zheng Jie, Christina McHale, Jelena Dokic - we will have some fantastic tennis here I'm sure. To follow along please like the Facebook page ASB Classic and follow here on Twitter.