Evidently, Venus Williams isn’t much of a magazine reader. How else to explain her mild protest that she was surprised to be required to doff her tennis togs for the body issue that ESPN The Magazine produces every year?
“It didn’t dawn on me until right when I walked on set that I would have to be without clothes,” the five-time Wimbledon champion said in the July 11 issue of the magazine. “If I would have thought about it before, there may have been a little less of a chance.”
Williams was more serious when she talked of her battle with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. “At my worst point, I wasn’t able to play tennis at all,” she said. “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 percent.”
It took Williams, 34, about six months to recover. “Because of Sjogren’s syndrome, I have to be careful. If I train too hard then I won’t be able to do anything the next day,” Williams, who won her first-round match at Wimbledon on Monday, said. “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.”