Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams(pic left) and 2013 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tomas Berdych( pic right) strip for this year’s Body Issue, ESPN . In this issue of ESPN Magazine,the tennis player talks about her ongoing battle with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that, according to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, causes white blood cells to attack a person’s moisture-producing glands.
“At my worst point, I wasn’t able to play tennis at all,” says Williams. “Just the whole quality of my life was compromised. You are so tired it hurts. You have to accept that you’re never going to be 100 percent.”
“Because of Sjogren’s syndrome, I have to be careful,” she says. “If I train too hard, then I won’t be able to do anything the next day. 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.”
Berdych talked to ESPN The Magazine’s Morty Ain about how his body reacts to the move from clay to grass.
“The grass is a very big challenge for me,” Berdych said. “There are these low bounces and different movements, which is very difficult, especially for my height and weight. I start to feel it in the lower back and the lower hamstring.”
“My first Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon,” he says, “so I have no complaints about the grass.”