Although Venus Williams is older than her sister Serena, she is following in lil’ sis’ footsteps when it comes to stripping down for ESPN The Magazine.

The sixth annual edition of its Body Issue features 22 athletes posing nude, including the five-time Wimbledon champion.

In an interview accompanying the spread, Venus joked about posting nude.

“It didn’t dawn on me until right when I walked on set that I would have to be without clothes. If I would have thought about it before, there may have been a little less of a chance.”

She also discussed the challenges of Sjogren’s syndrome, which leaves her fatigued and forces her to make concessions in training.

The issue, which hits newsstands July 11, is ESPN The Magazine’s annual celebration of the athletic form.

Also baring all for the issue is Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and boxer Bernard Hopkins (the oldest title winner in the sport’s history).

“We somehow manage to raise the bar each year,” said ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com editor-in-chief Chad Millman. “This year’s collection of exceptional athletes and stunning photography showcases an array of sports and body types. It inhabits our mission to pay tribute to these athletes’ bodies and all they are capable of.”

Serena graced the magazine’s Body Issue cover in 2009.

Other athletes in this year’s issue includes 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder, professional surfer Coco Ho, cliff diver Ginger Huber, Olympic hockey player Hilary Knight, WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry, the husband-wife team of X Games stars Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z, snowboarder Jamie Anderson, tennis player Tomas Berdych, Olympic bronze-medal-winning bobsledder Aja Evans and U.S. World Cup soccer player Omar Gonzalez, who also plays on the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Here are a few pics of the athletes:

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks

marshawnlynchespn

Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Serge-Ibaka-ESPN-Magazine-Body-Issue_zps7ad78350

Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers

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