Venus Williams

Venus Williams

The five-time Wimbledon champion and nine-time Grand Slam winner reveals details of her ongoing struggle with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that forced a six-month hiatus for the tennis star.

enus Williams leaves very little to the imagination in ESPN the Magazine’s sixth annual Body Issue, hitting newsstands July 11.

Williams didn’t quite know what she was getting into when she agreed to pose for the issue. “It didn’t dawn on me until right when I walked on set that I would have to be without clothes. If I would have thought about it before, there may have been a little less of a chance,” she said in an interview with ESPN.

The 34-year-old tennis powerhouse will be featured alongside a nude (with noticeable tan lines on his derriere) Tomas Berdych, a 2010 Wimbledon finalist, according to the New York Daily News.

In addition to baring all during the photo shoot, Williams discusses the not-yet-reported details of her battle with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that sidelined her from tennis for six months in 2011-2012.

Williams explains to ESPN, “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.”

She adds that because of the disorder she has had to be vigilant about training too hard, “It’s a balance between pushing myself as much as I can, and being reasonable about what I can achieve and my body will tolerate,” according to the New York Daily News.

Despite her health battle, Williams is getting back in the game and is currently playing at Wimbledon. She is only one of four women who have won five Wimbledon singles titles, the New York Daily News reports. She has also won nine Grand Slam tournaments.

Williams’ turn to grace the pages of the magazine comes five years after her sister, Serena, appeared on the cover.