Former world No. 1 Venus Williams admitted Sjogren's syndrome affected her career as she said it was challenging for her to return to her best tennis following the diagnosis. Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2011.
After pulling out of her 2011 US Open second round match, Williams spent a couple of months sidelined before returning to action in 2012 March. Even though Williams never again won a Grand Slam after returning to action, she was able to win six more titles and return to the top-5.
"Everyone's life is affected in different ways with autoimmune diseases," Williams said in a clip uploaded on her YouTube channel, as quoted on Sportskeeda. "For me, it really obviously affected my work and my profession.
I wasn't able to play tennis anymore, and I was out of the game for maybe nine months. I also had challenges playing my best tennis, so of course that was frustrating especially when you have a high expectation of yourself."
Williams had to make changes to her lifestyle
"It's very frustrating especially when you are experiencing limits and you can't do everything that you wanted to do before," she said. "I had to learn how to pace myself so that was important.
My life doesn't involve a lot of pacing but you know there are certain things that I have to do - I really should get sleep. I've learned how to like not read emails at night." After the diagnosis, Williams focused on getting more rest and reducing her stress levels.
"I've made some different rules for myself to hopefully help my stress level," Williams added. "I don't think I follow those rules the way I should, but I'm working on it. Especially in the beginning, I really had to learn how to rest.
I think there were points where I would just push myself so much I would literally crash and couldn't get up. So I had to learn how to stop doing that."