• Tennis

Williams and Berdych bare all for The Body Issue

ESPN staff
June 23, 2014
Venus Williams is the latest tennis player to bare all for ESPN The Magazine © ESPN The Magazine

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych are the latest tennis stars to pose nude for this year's The Body Issue by ESPN The Magazine.

The pair join the likes of John Isner and Agnieszka Radwanksa (2013), Daniela Hantuchova (2012), Vera Zvonareva (2011), Esther Vergeer (2010), and Serena Williams (2009) in posing nude for the magazine.

In the accompanying story ,Williams exposes harrowing new details about her ongoing battle with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, in the accompanying story.

Williams said: "At my worst point, I wasn't able to play tennis at all. Just 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%."

Williams, who was forced to stop playing for just over six months because of the illness, reveals how she was able to work her way back up the rankings.

"Because of Sjogren's syndrome, I have to be careful," says Williams. "If I train too hard then I won't be able to do anything the next day.

There would be times when I'd park my car at home, and I fell asleep behind the wheel because I was so tired. It's a balance between pushing myself as much as I can and being reasonable about what I can achieve and what my body will tolerate."

Berdych becomes only the second ATP player to pose for The Body Issue, following in John Isner's footsteps last year. The two faced off against one another in the fourth round at the French Open earlier this month when Berdych won in straight sets.

Looking towards Wimbledon, the world No.6 opens up about how this body reacts to the move from clay to grass.

"The grass is a very big challenge for me," Berdych says. "There are these low bounces and different movements, which is very difficult especially for my height and weight. I start to feel it in the lower back and the lower hamstring."

Regardless, Berdych is optimistic about his prospects: "My first Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon - so I have no complaints about the grass."

Click here to read the full Body Issue interview with Venus Williams

Click here to read the full Body Issue interview with Tomas Berdych

Tomas Berdych and John Isner are the only two male tennis players to pose naked for ESPN The Magazine © ESPN The Magazine
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