PARIS -- Used to be that Venus Williams was the one who was highly ranked, the one considered a title contender, the one who would dominate foes so thoroughly that matches would be tidily wrapped up in an hour.
Now 31, and figuring out from day to day how to handle an illness that saps her strength, Williams was on the wrong end of a lopsided 60-minute defeat in the second round of the French Open Wednesday.
Looking glum and lacking the verve that carried her to seven Grand Slam titles, Williams barely put up any resistance and lost, 6-2, 6-3, to No. 3-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska at Roland Garros. Coming a day after her younger sister Serena was stunned in the first round by 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano, the early exit marked the first time in 43 major tournaments with both in the field that neither Williams got to the third round.
"I felt like I played," Williams said after making a hard-to-fathom 33 unforced errors, 27 more than Radwanska. "That pretty much sums it up."
This one was not exactly an out-of-nowhere upset, considering that Williams is ranked 53rd and never has been as good on clay. She is learning how to be a professional athlete with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.
"I don't know if I ever asked myself, 'Why me?' I mean, obviously it's frustrating at times. I don't know if there's anything mental more I can do at this point, but there's a lot of stages to go through with this kind of thing," Williams said.
"There's a lot of people who have it a lot worse than I do. I'm still playing a professional sport, so I have to be very positive. And I'm going to have ups and downs. I haven't gotten to the 'Why me?' yet. I hope I never get to the 'Why me?' I'm not allowed to feel sorry for myself."
Williams revealed her diagnosis in late August at the U.S. Open, when she withdrew before her second match.