It comes after a hard time for Williams, who returned to work after she "almost died" following the birth of her daughter Olympia in 2017, and then struggled with postnatal depression.
The 37-year-old is featured on one of four covers of the December issue.
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The representation of her as a "woman" has drawn some criticism, particularly in the USA, as the debate around race and gender intensifies, with drawing direct comparison to Gal Gadot's equivalent cover a year ago. "Jeanne-Marie Laskas visits the G.O.A.T.at her Florida home to hear about the U.S. Open moment heard around the world, along with Serena's plans for the future, her thoughts on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court appointment, and what it's like to be a black woman in America in 2018". Ridiculous conspiracies litter the internet.
"People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I'm strong", she told Business Insider. The star has previously had to deal with being called a man due her muscular body and even addressed the hurtful comments on Reddit, writing "I've been called man because I appeared outwardly strong ..."
Quotes around the word woman on a major magazine give pause, and seem to play into that idea of lacking female characteristics while feeding gender norms, but in this case it's a compilation between artist and athlete who have taken the year by storm.