June 24, 2014 09:09:23 GMT
The professional tennis player undresses for this year's body issue of the magazine and talks about her ongoing battle with Sjogren's syndrome.
Tennis star Venus Williams goes nude for this year's Body Issue of ESPN magazine. In the cover picture, Venus smiles widely while looking up to the sky. She puts her left hand on her breast and touches her head with her right hand.
Venus tells the magazine about her ongoing battle with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which causes white blood cells attacking a person's moisture-producing glands, "At my worst point, I wasn't able to play tennis at all. Just the whole quality of my life was compromised. You are so tired it hurts. You have to accept that you're never going to be 100 percent."
Because of the illness, Venus had to stop playing tennis for more than six months in 2011-2012. The 34-year-old athlete reveals that she struggled hard working her way back up the rankings. She says, "Because of Sjogren's syndrome, I have to be careful. If I train too hard, then I won't be able to do anything the next day."
"There would be times when I'd park my car at home and I fell asleep behind the wheel because I was so tired," she continues, "It's a balance between pushing myself as much as I can and being reasonable about what I can achieve and what my body will tolerate."
Venus appears on the magazine five years after her sister Serena Williams was featured on the body issue cover in 2009. On June 23, she won against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain, earning her first singles win at Wimbledon Championship since 2011.