Twenty-three-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams will grace the August cover of Vanity Fair nude and proudly sporting her baby bump. Williams — who officially announced her pregnancy back in April with fiancé Alexis Ohanian — is now just a little more than six-months pregnant but already planning her return to the tennis court.
In the cover story by Vanity Fair, Williams discusses her intention to return to the sport as early as January 2018. (She was likely pregnant when she won the Australian Open in January.) She’s also shown in a number of images captured by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, some of them also featuring Ohanian. Williams on Tuesday shared on Instagram another of the images shot by Leibovitz that appear inside the magazine. The cover photo calls to mind the iconic 1991 cover of a pregnant and nude Demi Moore, which was also shot by Leibovitz, and the editor who was behind it was none other than Women in the World founder Tina Brown. Last year, she talked about how she was “blown away” by the backlash that the cover triggered.
“Being pregnant is glorious, we’re not going to hide it,” explained Tina Brown addressing a crowd at this year’s Cannes Lions festival, “This is a natural state for women … It’s almost a right of passage now for a pregnant star to show their belly.”
There hasn’t been any backlash associated with Williams’ cover, but the tennis star did find herself at the center of a controversy of someone else’s making. Williams took to Twitter on Monday address comments made by tennis great John McEnroe, who insinuated that if Williams were to play against men in the ATP world tour, her ranking would, “be like 700 in the world.” She asked McEnroe to “please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based,” and to “respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby.”
Only one Grand Slam victory title shy of record-holding player Margaret Court, Williams is widely considered the best player in the history of tennis regardless of gender. Returning to the world of tennis after nearly a year off for maternity leave and capturing a 24th Grand Slam title would cement Williams’ legacy as one of the greatest athletes of the generation.
Watch below at the thirty-minute mark for Tina Brown’s comments on the iconic 1991 Vanity Fair cover.
Read the full story at Bleacher Report.