Hopman Cup takes a risk with Venus
The new Hopman Cup organisers have taken a big risk by signing veteran Venus Williams to the 2013 event.
The 32-year-old seven-time Grand Slam winner constantly battles fatigue and joint soreness since being diagnosed with the auto-immune condition, Sjogrens syndrome, in 2011.
Williams missed most of the first half of 2012 as a result of the condition and has admitted that she is not sure she can play from one week to the next.
This would not be re-assuring factor with the new Tennis Australian governed tournament that has a history of star players withdrawing either during or before the event, much to the disappointment of fans who have bought tickets to see that particular player, only to be watching a replacement.
Although no-one can begrudge players who are genuinely injured from training or playing mishaps, it’s playing Russian roulette if the player, like in Williams’ case, has a predisposed condition, creating a distinct likelihood of them having to withdraw due to the illness relapsing during the coming month.
Whilst Williams would have been a major crowd puller prior to her illness, she has only played one match in the last 12 months that matched her past high standards.
The second round US Open thriller against world number six Angelique Kerber was a very high quality match that may have indicated that Williams was over the worst of the condition, but it was fatigue, again, that was her undoing in the third set tie breaker.
Most of her matches this year have been lacklustre affairs due to the fatigue the illness causes. Williams was a shadow of her former self in the 6-1, 6-3 first round drubbing at the hands of Russian Elena Vesnina at Wimbledon in June.
Her only noteworthy wins this year have been in doubles with sister Serena, defending their Olympic gold medal and adding another Wimbledon title to their collection.
While Williams has reassured fans that she is over the worst of the condition, only time will tell if she is well enough to play the Hopman Cup and put in her best effort for six tough matches during the 2013 event.
The Hopman Cup will run from 29 December to 5 January.
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