The Inspiring Venus Williams Finishes Her 2013 US Open
I was sorry to see Venus Williams leave the U.S. Open. She's one of those players I always love to watch. Venus and Serena changed women's tennis in so many ways. In my opinion, they continue to add more flair, fun and excitement to the game. When Venus or Serena retires, I will miss them.

It's sad to see a warrior like Venus taken down by her own body. I believe that if she was healthy, she would still be one of today's top women players. The auto-immune condition she has, Sjogern's Syndrome, makes her extremely fatigued. I've experienced real fatigue; anyone who has will tell you that it's very different than just being tired. In a 2011 New York Times story, Venus described her fatigue: "Some mornings I feel really sick, like when you don't get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold. I always have some level of tiredness. And the more I tried to push through it, the tougher it got."

Venus isn't the only woman in the 2013 US Open with a major illness. July, 2011, when she was 22 years old and ranked No. 20, Alisa Kleybanova announced that she had Hodgkins Lymphoma and would be leaving tennis. Later that year she underwent chemotherapy and then returned to her training. Monday she defeated Monica Puig (No. 44) and advanced to the second round of the 2013 U.S. Open.

These two talented women are inspiring. It takes true strength to go through the physical, mental and emotional trauma of a serious illness and then get back up and keep going. It's even harder to do it in the public eye, and these women sacrificed their privacy to bring awareness to their respective illnesses. They aren't the only ones. In April, 2010 Martina Navratilova announced her breast cancer diagnosis to help bring more public awareness to the disease. Sam Stosur has written about her suffering from Lyme Disease.

In my mind, Venus will always be a winner. She could easily retire and take it easy. However, her will, determination and love for the game, keep her coming back. Even if we only got to see her play two rounds, I'm grateful for those games. As long as she's fighting, I'll keep watching.