Williams graces the cover of the newest issue of the magazine wearing nothing but a delicate silver body chain around her hips. In the striking photo—shot by the legendary Annie Leibovitz, who also photographed Moore's similar cover—the 35-year-old tennis pro shows off her pregnant silhouette as her long hair cascades behind her. In other equally flawless images from the shoot, Williams poses nude while facing the opposite direction of the cover photo, snuggles with her fiancé, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, and leans against a wall in a clingy orange dress that highlights her growing bump. In every image, the record-breaking athlete looks impossibly graceful, powerful, and beautiful.
In the accompanying profile, Williams tells the story of her relationship with Ohanian and details how she's preparing for motherhood. (The athlete announced her pregnancy via an accidental Snapchat post in April.) She reveals that she found out she was pregnant—confirmed by no less than six pregnancy tests—just a few days before the 2017 Australian Open in January. Her initial reaction went something like "How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year," she tells VF. But despite being unable to play at Wimbledon next month, Williams nonetheless came out on top at the Australian Open.
"It just doesn't seem real. I don't know why. Am I having a baby?" she said. "If you would have told me last year in October or November that I would have a baby—not be pregnant but have a baby—I would have thought you were the biggest liar in the world. This is kind of how I am right now. This is happening sooner than later, and it's going by so fast." She added, "I don't know what to do with a baby." But if the tennis star's strength and dedication on the court are any indication, there's no doubt that Williams will be a gold-medal mom.
The August issue of Vanity Fair appears on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles, and on the iPhone, Kindle, and other devices, on Thursday, July 6, and on newsstands nationwide on Tuesday, July 11.