Naked truth is Serena loved baring almost all for charity
NEW YORK (AFP) - Eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, declaring she has recovered from a nagging thumb injury, said she was proud to show off her body in a nearly nude magazine photograph for charity.
Two days before she plays her first match at the US Open against Germany's Angelique Kerber, eighth seed Williams made clear she was not embarrassed at baring nearly all in the latest issue of Jane.
In the picture, part of a series for the charity "Clothes Off Our Backs", Williams wore only high-heel shoes and held carefully placed flowers and a hand to cover her more private areas.
"I thought it was a great photo. It was for a great cause," Williams said. "I thought it was simply divine personally. I have gotten a lot of great compliments on it."
Serena had struggled with a sore thumb this year but she declared that is behind her and she expects to play well in the Flushing Meadows fortnight despite playing no Wimbledon or US Open tuneup events.
"Thumbs up," Williams said. "I'm totally fine. I'm always playing with not many matches. I've been practicing so much. I'm so excited the US Open is here. I'm pretty much over practicing. It's dreadful. I'm ready to play matches.
"It's definitely important to play matches but I also think it's important to have faith in your game."
Williams also addressed one less-than-complimentary remark, US television commentator Mary Carillo's comment that the Williams sisters should have dominated women's tennis more than they have but have not lived up to their potential.
"I think I've had a little more effect on tennis history than she has," said Williams. "I'm pretty excited about that."
While the US siblings have been injured and inconsistent at times, they have amassed a formidable total of Grand Slam titles.
Serena Williams won her eighth Grand Slam singles title last January at the Australian Open, her third title there to go with two each at Wimbledon and the US Open and a 2002 French Open crown.
Serena's elder sister, Venus Williams, won her sixth Slam singles crown last month at Wimbledon, adding her fourth All-England title to two US Open titles.
Williams followed up her Slam victory at Melbourne with a title at Miami, beating world number one Justine Henin in the final, but was drummed out of her past two events by Henin, losing in Wimbledon and French Open quarter-finals.
They could meet again in a US Open quarter-final next week, but Williams said the event is wide open.
"There are a lot of players who can win," she said. "I'm thinking it's going to be me."