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Venus not fit for Auckland

TENNIS: Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has withdrawn from the ASB Classic in Auckland next month because of ongoing health issues.

The former world number one has been receiving treatment for Sjogren's syndrome, which can cause fatigue and joint pain.

According to the tournament's website, after playing a number of recent exhibition matches Williams said she was not ready to play in New Zealand.

Tournament director Richard Palmer said: "We are disappointed to have lost a player of her calibre. While withdrawals of this nature are part and parcel of sport, we sincerely feel for the fans, who will also be disappointed by the news of Venus' withdrawal.

"Next month's ASB Classic field is one of the strongest in the tournament's history with the eight seeds in the top 30 and all 24 direct entries in the top 70 in the world."