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Venus Williams withdraws from Australian Open

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Venus Williams' comeback won't begin in Melbourne.

The American tennis star announced on Monday that she was withdrawing from the Australian Open. Williams made the announcement on Twitter and her website, She wrote:

After several months of training and treatment, I am making steady progress to top competitive form. My diet and fitness regimen have allowed me to make great strides in terms of my health and I am very close to being ready to return to WTA competition. I have every intention to return to the circuit in February.

In August, the 31-year-old was diagnosed with Sjogren's snydrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue and joint pain. She played one match at the U.S. Open before withdrawing from the tournament because of the effects of her ailment.

[Related: Venus Williams goes vegan; sister Serena joins in solidarity]

Despite all her hard-court success, Venus struggled in Melbourne. In 12 career appearances at the Grand Slam event, she only advanced to two semifinals. Her lone finals appearance came in 2003 when she lost to her sister, Serena.

Sitting out Melbourne makes sense for Venus. She has a big summer planned, with Wimbledon and the Olympics taking place back-to-back in London. Getting fully healthy now is a good way to better ensure that she'll stay that way.

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