Game, set, Vogue!
Serena Williams is the first black female athlete to land a solo cover of Vogue, and the tennis pro looks absolutely breathtaking (she last fronted the magazine for the June 2012 issue alongside Ryan Lochte and Hope Solo). Serena sports long natural curls and a slim-fitting blue sheath dress on the cover, finishing her look with minimal makeup and a simple tennis bracelet (natch). Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the stunning spread, which also features tennis star (not to mention Serena’s best friend and top competitor) Caroline Wozniacki.
The tennis maven joins Lupita Nyong’o, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Michelle Obama as high-powered black women to front Vogue in recent years. (One other black athlete has graced the mag’s cover: LeBron James shared the April 2008 Shape issue withGisele Bündchen for what became a much-debated spread.)
In the editorial, Serena lets her enviable figure do the talking in a second skin wine-red gown that hugs her body in all the right places. Beyond looking beautiful in couture, the star athlete opens up about the pressure of being top-ranked on the courts. (It’s no surprise that Anna Wintour tapped her for the annual Shape issue—the Vogue editrix is a self-proclaimed tennis enthusiast).
“It’s hard and lonely at the top,” Williams admits in the interview. “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.”
Williams announced her Vogue cover in a sexy bikini snapshot on Instagram (why not?), which shows the star athlete kicking back with a copy of the issue. (Really, though, that body!)
Vogue‘s April issue hits newsstands on March 25, and we can’t wait to get our hands on one.