Tennis pro Serena Williams will make history by becoming the first black female athlete to grace the cover of Vogue magazine alone.
Williams, 33, previously appeared on the cover of the fashion mag in June of 2012 alongside swimmer Ryan Lochte and soccer star Hope Solo, prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics. It has now been announced that the number one player in the world in women’s singles tennis will be going solo for next month’s cover.
Serena posted this photo to Instagram to make the announcement:
Second to none, The Queen of the Court will appear on the April cover in a photo taken by Annie Leibovitz, which captures Williams bearing a familiar ferocious look — one that opponents have grown to both fear and respect.
The Williams feature will also include fellow tennis pros Caroline Wozniacki, who is not only Serena’s biggest opponent but also her best friend, and Serena’s sister, Venus Williams.
“It’s hard and lonely at the top,” Williams says in the Vogue interview. “That’s why it’s so fun to have Caroline and my sister, too. You’re a target when you’re number one. Everyone wants to beat you. Everyone talks behind your back, and you get a lot more criticism. God forbid I lose. It’s like ‘Why?’ Well, I am human.”
Other minority celebrity icons to appear on Vogue’s much vaunted cover in recent years include Lupita Nyong’o, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The only one other black athlete to have been featured on the magazine’s cover is Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, who shared the April 2008 Shape issue with model Gisele Bündchen.
Williams was forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California over the weekend, citing a right knee injury. She had agreed to enter the tournament after a very public 14-year boycott of Indian Wells, when she was booed off the court in 2001 following a similar injury, reports USA Today.