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Serena Williams in swimsuit on the cover of ESSENCE

"It’s important to look in the mirror and say I love myself" are the words of wisdom from the world No.1 Serena Williams for her feature in the July 2013 "Body Issue" of the ESSENCE magazine.

The 31-year-old tennis star graces the cover in a blue ombre Carmen Marc Valvo swimsuit alongside the message "Love Your Body!". Serena also tells the story about her pulmonary embolism and how she learned to handle the attention her curves receive.

In on-court news, after battling past the 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in today's quarterfinals in Paris, Serena shared her confused thoughts and feelings:

It was a very tough match today, but it's good for me because, I don't know, but it's very good. I am exhausted.

(source: Beyond the Baseline)

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3 thoughts on “Serena Williams in swimsuit on the cover of ESSENCE

  1. fifi

    She looks amazing :) i think not only tennis fans but SPORTS fans should appreciate what serena williams is doing!! ALL THE BEST

  2. Petey Detruse

    It’s complicated for me. I’m Black. So is Serena. Since Serena is also Black, of course, she and I can not have any kind of connection on even a theoretical level where dating and relationships are concerned. (to those not familiar with the dynamics of African American relationship politics, I apologize for the inside nature of that humorous comment).

    Women’s tennis.

    OK, so let’s say you’re a muscular masculine looking Black man. You’re in a bar. There’s testosterone dissolved into the atmosphere. Your with some guys and they ask– what’s your favorite sport? Who’s your favorite athlete? The responses would fit into a beer company commercial. You might even hear an argument about whether Labron James is the greatest. It’s your turn to respond. Maybe they don’t know you and you want to represent.

    What if – your favorite sport is women’s tennis?

    Not TENNIS. WOMEN’S tennis.

    What do you say?

    Most of you would lie. You’d be afraid of being judged to be less than manly by the men, and I won’t even say what the women would think of you.

    I tell people proudly that women’s tennis is my favorite sport. I have trained women in tennis and I know this: The competition is no less fierce and your work deserves at least equal attention. At least.

    So where Serena in a swimsuit is concerned, I applaud her, and I think something essential is happening. Women tennis players are at the forefront in terms of all sports professionals in the work to bring women into full citizenship. Althea, Billie Jean and Martina. Game, set match where producing examples supporting that statement is concerned. In this act, and in other examples, Serena and other players who put that booty on film are undoing the wrongheaded imagery placed in world culture about what is girl sexy, which is to say personal power of an intimate kind. Strong, athletic and in control. Hefner need not dictate it, she will. At every level, I love what the women of the WTA are doing. I’d rub one out to Justine more than any Kardashian. Precisely BECAUSE Justine’s A cup IS sexy. As-is.

    I support Serena in profiling that booty and I see the WTA as a profoundly positive influence on world culture. More than any other group of 250 or so women in athletics, the women of the WTA are providing wonderment and sustenance to the human spirit and they are leading a path for women in all professions.

    Now, having said that, let’s all stop, think about and be thankful for the pretty woman, Jelena The Body Jankovic. JJ, the hottest babe in tennis.

    And therefore, the world.

    Go JJ!!

  3. Petey Detruse

    And another thing:

    What if I, Petey Detruse, could be transmogrified into a well-known and respected sports journalist. Let’s say, I AM Bud Collins. Which is good, because I love Bud Collins, and given that, I’d be loving myself, which is a good thing for all of us to do. Better still, let’s say I’m Mary Carillo. Another sports journalist I love.

    Either one.

    Let’s imagine, I am tasked with conducting a 30 minute interview with Jelena Jankovic.

    By the way, before I get to what happens in the imagined interview of Jelena The Body Jankovic, let’s get one thing really clear.

    Mary Carillo: You are hot. First of all, you’re a jock, and a tennis player – which is an enhancement factor to any woman’s intrinsic hotness. The thing is, you’re cute. And I mean that wholesome cute that resists creation of need for makeup or adornment. Mary Carillo, you are cute. Your intelligence and sense of humor is endearing. And this: Your voice. I love it. If I had to be told my bank account has been cleaned out by Al Qaida, I’d like someone with your voice to deliver it. Listen: I could kiss the sound of your voice. I could kiss other things and you could tell me what those need to be. I will.

    So, Jelena The Body Jankovic and I sit down and the interview is live. Let’s begin. Here are the questions. And these are The Questions.

    Me: Bud or Mary: “Jelena, talk to me about your body.”

    I do not interrupt one utterance of her response.

    Me: “Jelena, I’ve studied your legs, what do you think was the key factor in causing them to become the most important visual element of human female sport….existence…I ‘m sorry…I’m a little disheveled here, I meant the most important human legs…”

    Jelena: “Calm yourself, you may ask me anything. I speak 4 languages but babble is not one of them.” She smiles. And recrosses her legs revealing – white panties. White!

    I faint.

    I awake and my focus returns as condensation revealing her face.

    I return to my faint.

    As consciousness returns, I imagine the interview inside the imagined interview:

    Me: “JJ, people have celebrated players like Maria Sharapova, the tall blonde and they have compared you negatively, stating that your ethnic features are less pretty how do you respond to such criticisms?”

    Jelena: “Petey, I mean Mary, why don’t you answer that question. My job is tennis. I love my family and I am a good person. I work harder than most players. I play many tournaments and I keep my scheduling commitments. How would you feel if you come to your job and you must be judged on your looks? What if you must travel 80% of your time, change time zones and do hard physical work and have to answer to people who judge your appearance? I am 27 years old! I have been doing this since I was 9 – how would you answer this?”

    Me: “I think you are answering it. They call you drama queen, that you make excuses. How does that make you feel?”

    She stares. A knowing stare.

    Me: “50 year old men like Brad Gilbert – the D student of tennis on-air commentary attacking a twenty something – meaning you — with character assaults; anonymous hate filled people on the internet making comments that parade their complete lack of moral upbringing and ethics; lazy journalists who say hurtful and untrue things. I would not know how to handle that. Not at any age, but especially at such a young age. I do not know how you do it. You come from a small country with no infrastructure or tradition of tennis and you are one of the best in the world. You put Serbia on the tennis map before Novak and Ana. And now you do it with your brother as coach. Your story is amazing. At the same time, you’re so hot and the bias toward the tall blonde is a bias that many of us non-whites experience. Even Serena. You see, our perception of beauty is colored by a long tradition of cultural bias. Blonde over dark hair. And more. You know the history of bias, especially since you are one of those on the tour who is a college graduate. To me, you are perfect. Your eyes, your cheekbones, your smile and JJ that body on you is providing leadership in the activity of celebrating life.

    Sport as a spectator proposition with broadcast appendages must have “story.” Big time producers, people like Ron Arledge pioneered the practice of presenting sport as a script or story and like Ali, the script allows one to create a broadcast product that sells and is compelling. Except that it is a format that is resistant to reality and that it works even if the script is false. You are no drama queen and you are an amazing athlete who is fun to watch.

    Jelena, what’s it like to have that smoking hot body? What are you going to do with that body? “

    Jelena: “What are you asking me? Be honest. Is all you care about is me and my body or are you interested in my accomplishments and tennis?”

    Me: “I am inspired by both. Are not you?

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