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French Open 2012: Venus Williams Is Learning To Deal With Her Disease

This year's French Open marks return of the Williams sisters. Both missed out on last year's tournament due to health reasons -- Venus' being that she had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome, which causes joint pain and fatigue.

Williams will get a reminder of how she felt around the time of the diagnosis when she faces Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of the French Open. Last time Williams faced Radwanska, it was on the heels of the diagnosis, but also came after four straight wins. During the match, Williams felt symptoms and panicked. She didn't know how to handle it. But now, she understands what she's dealing with, as told to ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon.

"I'm in a place where I'm learning how to play with this," Williams said in an interview in Rome two weeks ago. "I think when I first started, you know, if I felt really bad, I would panic... Now if I don't feel well, I just take it point by point and just do the best that I can. I'm taking it step by step."

It took her a while to reach that moment of clarity, of understanding. Now, it's a part of her and she's accepted that fact.

"Yeah, I'm getting more calm, because I realize this is my life now, and I have to do the best I can with this."

SB Nation Los Angeles will continue to bring you updates, results and more from the 2012 French Open. You can also check out SB Nation's dedicated tennis hub.