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Serena Graces Vogue Cover & CNN

Serena Williams hasn't only been stealing the spotlight on the tennis court recently... read on.

Published May 18, 2012 12:00

Serena Graces Vogue Cover & CNN
Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte, Serena Williams

MIAMI & NEW YORK, USA - Serena Williams isn't just back at her best on the court, she's back at her best in the media spotlight - the American has been making a series of major off-court appearances in recent weeks, such as an exclusive interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, and now she graces the June cover of Vogue as part of a star-studded Olympic photo shoot.

With famed photographer Annie Leibovitz behind the lens, Vogue's Olympic photo shoot profiles roughly a dozen of America's brightest hopes going to the London Olympics this summer. The cover features soccer player Hope Solo, swimmer Ryan Lochte and Williams running arm-in-arm on the beach.

"Working with Ryan and Hope was really cool," Williams said. "To bring such great athletes and Olympic gold medal hopefuls together was really awesome.

"We were kind of losing our minds a little bit towards the end of the shoot but it was totally worth it because the shots were really amazing."

Vogue has also put out a behind-the-scenes video featuring Williams, Solo, Lochte and more - men's tennis stars the Bryan brothers, basketball star Dwayne Wade, gymast Jonathan Horton and track and field star Ashton Eaton.

Williams was asked during the shoot about her motivation. "There are some times when I'm training I'm like, 'Why am I doing this?'" the 30-year-old commented. "I'm crazy. I love what I do. It's something I cannot live without.

"You have to be at 100% if you want to win. I want to win."

Check out Vogue's behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot right here!

Williams also recently graced CNN in an exclusive prime time spot with Piers Morgan, meeting the famed interviewer at the Vanderbilt Tennis Club, which is located right in Grand Central Station in New York. The segment included a tennis match between the two - though Williams did seem to have a bit of a disadvantage in using an old-style wooden racquet against the 47-year-old.

"Just to clarify, the four-time Wimbledon champion doesn't want to play with the old racquets," Morgan said to the camera between points.

"This is crazy," Williams said, "I've never played with a wooden racquet!"

After Morgan claimed victory, Williams was gracious in defeat. "You did well, you beat me," Williams announced. "I'm proud of you."

Williams also commented on a variety of other subjects, such as...

Her parents pushing her when she was young...
"When you're younger and you see the playground and other things, and you see your friends and peers going different places, you want to do it. But when you're a kid you don't know the most important moment is now, and your training. When you're older you look back and know it was so important. All of that hard work is so important. Now's when it all comes into play."

Her dad's coaching...
"My dad was a really innovative coach. Even down to the way we hit our strokes, it was definitely something new coming into the tennis game."

Her heroes...
"I never got to see him fight, but I love Muhammad Ali. I love how he fought and how his feet moved. My dad had recorded I think the '84 Olympics, with Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Greg Louganis - it was just an amazing story I'll never forget. It was amazing to look up and be inspired by all of that."

Her opponents "never beating her"...
"Usually when I play matches, the match is in my hands. If I make too many errors, I'll beat myself. I'll lose a few matches if my opponent outplays me, and just plays unbelievable, but most of the time it's in my hands to win or lose."

Her focus...
"When you're out there, you have to have the winner's attitude. My job is to do the best I can, because you never know what will happen tomorrow."

Playing against her sister Venus...
"We never play when no one's watching. I hate playing against her. I practice with her - she's amazing to practice with. But the last time we played, I was serving and she was hitting winners - I was so mad."

How long she plans to keep playing...
"I don't see an end to my career. I see myself continuing and building. I see myself super healthy and feeling really good."

Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte, Serena Williams

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