Serena Williams' Vanity Fair cover story dropped Tuesday and the tennis star went fully nude for the shoot. The piece by Buzz Bissinger, featuring photography by Annie Leibovitz, details the "full love story” of Williams and her fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Williams confirmed their engagement in December. Four months later, Williams announced that she was pregnant.
"This big guy comes and he just plops down at the table next to us, and I'm like, 'Huh! All these tables and he's sitting here?,'" Williams recalled of her and Ohanian's first encounter, which took place at the Cavalieri Hotel in Rome in May 2015. Williams, who would play her first match in the Italian Open later that day, joined friends including agent Jill Smoller for breakfast. Ohanian was also at the hotel due to a speaking engagement at the Festival of Media Global conference. Thanks to a late night of drinking with Kristen Wiig and friends, he was a bit hungover when he met Williams.
Despite the awkwardness of that meeting (Ohanian hiding his tennis ignorance, Williams pretending to know what Reddit was), their story continued months later in Paris, where they spent six hours walking the city together.
Eventually, Ohanian put together a special trip back to the Cavalieri so he could propose to Williams. "I knew it was coming," Williams said. "I was like, 'Serena, you're 35, you're ready. This is what you want.'"
Read the full Serena Williams x Vanity Fair cover story, in which she says she might return to the court as soon as January, right here.
On the eve of the story's release, Williams took to Twitter to respond to John McEnroe's recent comments about her ranking. McEnroe's comments, given to an NPR reporter, have been criticized as sexist:
Asked by NPR over the weekend why he chose to qualify Williams as the "best female player ever" instead of "the best tennis player in the world," McEnroe said she would "be like 700 in the world" if performing in the men’s circuit.