New York Report: Venus Williams

Day 3: Venus Williams withdraws

August, 31, 2011
Starpower at the U.S. Open continues to fade as Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament with an unspecified illness. The loss of such a prominent player further dampens the shine on the women's draw. Defending champion Kim Clijsters, who won the Australian this year, coupled with losses by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and French Open winner Li Na in the first round means there are no defending Grand Slam players left in the draw.

On the bright side, there are some young American women who have performed well, including New Jersey's Christine McHale, who beat No. 8 Marion Bartoli 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the second round on the Grandstand Court.

UPDATE: Williams said she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain. Follow the developing story here.

Day 1: Serena soaks up Big Apple weather

August, 29, 2011
While plenty of people in the Northeast were dreading wet basements or nervously watching trees sway in Hurricane Irene, Serena Williams took the opportunity to go outside and enjoy the weather. If you believe what she said this morning at a press conference to start the U.S. Open, it looked like something out of a Fred Astaire movie.

"Well, I played a little bit in the rain," said Williams, a former winner and No. 28 seed. "I went to Park Avenue because it was empty and danced a little bit in the streets. It was kinda fun."

Williams is slated for a first-round match against Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, tomorrow. Her sister Venus Williams plays at 7 tonight in Arthur Ashe Stadium.