Venus Williams pulls out of US Open

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease

NEW YORK (AP) -- Venus Williams says she has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain and forced her to withdraw from the U.S. Open.

The two-time champion pulled out Wednesday before her second-round match. In a statement afterward, she said: "I have been recently diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain."

The 31-year-old Williams pulled out of two hard-court tuneup tournaments this summer because she was not feeling well. In her first match in two months, Williams beat Vesna Dolonts 6-4, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Williams was supposed to play 22nd-seeded Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)