She’s winning on the court and off! Check out Serena Williams’ brand new April 2015 cover of VOGUE magazine inside, plus what she says about friends and her (superb) fitness.
Get it all inside…
For the second time, Serena Williams is VOGUE’s cover girl. Rocking a blue Rag & Bone sheath dress and a Tate diamond bracelet, the tennis superstar serves up lush hair and a natural face for the annual SHAPE issue for April 2015.
The 33-year-old broke the news in a fabulous way:
By reading her own issue while flaunting her banging bikini body.
In her cover story, she sits alongside bestie and fellow tennis champ Caroline Wozniaki (who is also featured in the issue) as they talk about friendship and forgiveness. Oh, and those killer bodies.
Serena On being lonely at #1
“It’s hard and lonely at the top. That’s why it’s so fun to have Caroline and my sister, too. You’re a target when you’re number one. Everyone wants to beat you. Everyone talks behind your back, and you get a lot more criticism. God forbid I lose. It’s like ‘Why?’ Well, I am human.”
On Serena’s confidence and forgiveness
…you can see it in her recently announced decision to go back to Indian Wells, a tournament she had vowed to boycott permanently after the largely white, largely senior audience booed the then–nineteen-year-old player throughout an entire match. The crowd had believed that Venus had pulled out of a match at the last minute to make sure the two did not play each other in the semifinals. It is a testament to her grit that Serena won on that difficult day, but she spent the next several hours weeping in the locker room. “Say whatever you want about me and Venus,” Williams would later write in her autobiography, “at the end of the day we were just a couple of kids, trying to do our best.”
Every year, officials at the tournament begged her to come back. Every year, she said no. Even a new owner, billionaire Larry Ellison, and his multimillion-dollar makeover of the tournament—there’s now a Nobu—did not sway her. Then, about a year and a half ago, Williams spent Christmas vacation reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. His account of his struggles caused her to reflect on how she was walking through her own life. “That’s when I realized I had to go back,” she says. “I always talk about forgiveness, but I needed to actually show it. It was time to move on.”
On her personality on the court vs. off the court
“On the court, I am fierce! I am mean and I am tough. I am completely opposite off the court. My confidence just isn’t the same. I wish I was more like I am on the court. Nobody would know that I am constantly crying or complaining.”
On maintaining her physique
“Nowadays everybody goes to the gym. But when I won my first Grand Slam, I had never been.” Even then, however, she was ambivalent about her naturally muscular physique, refusing to lift weights lest her arms get bigger. “I hated my arms,” she remembers. “I wanted them to look soft.” To this day, she uses TheraBands instead of weights to avoid overdeveloping her muscles.
Donna Karan dress
On her interactions with men
“I am really shy. I don’t talk to guys. Friends? Yes. But a potential? No. I get nervous that I will say the wrong thing, and then I just start laughing.”
On playing her sister, Venus
“I don’t look at Venus on the court. I can’t,” she said. “If I am winning, I might feel sorry for her. If I’m losing, I will want to knock her out.”
On kids, family, post-career
“I guess,” she says, sounding unconvinced. “I’m not even looking for it.” When the tennis does end, she has plans to expand her interest in fashion beyond her current clothing line on the Home Shopping Network into something more high-end. She also hopes to increase her philanthropic activities—there’s a school in Kenya she has funded, along with a nursing scholarship named after her slain sister, and a partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that provides legal representation to indigent clients.
Read the full interview over at VOGUE.
Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Serena’s IG