Serena Williams has definitely come back after health problems that included stepping on glass in 2010 and a pulmonary embolism in 2011.
Williams wears a swimsuit alongside a headline that reads, “Love Your Body!” and a statement from her: “It’s important to look in the mirror and say I love myself.”
The 5-foot-9-inch, 155-pound tennis star beauty is the official covergirl of Essence magazine’s July 2013 “Body Issue,” proving you don’t have to be a size two to look fabulous in next to nothing.
Donning a radiant smile and striking a pose in a blue ombré swimsuit by Carmen Marc Valvo, Serena exudes the type of confidence we can all aspire to.
In the issue, she talks fighting for her life against a pulmonary embolism two years ago. Her brave battle inspired her recent documentary Venus and Serena, in which she recounts that love from her family and friends, unwavering faith and a relentless fight got her feeling better than ever.
“I feel lighter, I feel healthier, and even though I’m 31 — which really isn’t old, but for an athlete, particularly a tennis player, it’s old — I promise you, my body has never felt better. Considering how much I’ve played and how much I’ve done, I feel fine. I’m strong.”
In the issue, which she guest edited, the 31-year-old star also dives into issues that range from self-esteem and aging to maintaining her health and embracing her famous curves. In fact, curvy women are having a major moment– much to Serena’s (and our) delight.
“It can be a bit weird. Before it was, ‘Serena has a big butt,’ and that was all. Now there are way more people who feel comfortable with themselves and they’re saying, ‘I’m a woman, and this is what I look like.’ I always say, ‘We’re popular now! We’re finally in style!’”
She also shares beauty tips and dishes on what she likes best about her workouts.
For our full interview with Serena Williams — in which she describes how her late sister Tunde taught her to embrace her curves, and how at 31 years old she is in better shape than ever — pick up the July issue of ESSENCE available on newsstands June 3.
Williams has been rolling at the French Open, where she’s lost only 10 games through four rounds. She has won a career-high 28 consecutive matches. She faces 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Williams earned a berth in the French Open quarterfinals and extended her career-best winning streak to 28 matches by beating No. 15-seeded Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3.
It was her toughest test of the first week, but she swept the last 10 points and has lost 10 games through four rounds.
“I just want every point,” she said. “Every match I’m really focused for the whole period of time. I really want it every match.”
With a victory, Williams would earn her first berth in a French Open semifinal since 2003, reports the USA Today.