Venus Williams Strips Down for ESPN

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ESPN The Magazine
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Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. You know what I'm talking about: The most glorious season of all when today's finest athletes strip down and open up about what it takes to really make a top-tier athlete tick.

Yup, I'm talking about ESPN the Magazine's annual Body Issue. The 2014 edition hits newsstands July 11 (mark your calendars!), but in the meantime, we've managed to score a sneak preview of some of the hard bodies featured, and it's just as hot, hot, hot as you'd expect. 

This year's Body Issue features tennis champ Venus Williams, who doesn't just reveal her stunning curves. She also opens up about struggling with the autoimmune disorder Sjogren's syndrome (she took a year off from competing due to the disease), what it's taken to get her body back into tip-top shape, and getting naked on camera. 

"At my worst point, I wasn't able to play tennis at all," she told the magazine. "Just the whole quality of my life was compromised—and uncomfortable. It's very difficult to understand unless you've gone through it. Especially as a professional athlete, there's never any acceptable excuse. You push and you push and you'll die on the court if you have to, but you get it done."

RELATED: Athletes Bare All for ESPN The Magazine's 2013 Body Issue

Williams now has to be very careful about how she trains, she says. "If I train too hard, then I won't be able to do anything the next day," she 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."

Williams isn't the only tennis player to bare it all in this year's issue. Tomas Berdych is also going to be featured, ahem, prominently in the issue. For the full list of athletes to be featured this year, check back on ESPN.com tomorrow and then tell us: Will you pick up this issue? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!

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