Serena Williams
Serena Williams told New York Magazine that she wanted to design wedding dresses before pursuing a tennis careerGetty

Some claimed she was "built like a man" but tennis champ Serena Williams is now the subject of envy following her incredible photo shoot for New York Magazine. Laughing at the body-shamers, Williams graces the cover with her toned physique on full display complete with a defined six-pack.

The cover photo features Williams, 33, embracing her femininity in a figure-hugging long-sleeved black maxi dress designed by Elizabeth and James, while the inside spread highlights her unmatched athleticism. In the photos, the Wimbledon champion wears a bodysuit with a cut-out panel across her stomach while being suspended across two bars.

In the accompanying interview, the US sport star discussed her latest venture outside of tennis, a clothing line named Signature Statement Collection for HSN, and revealed she had initially wanted to launch a wedding dress label before pursuing a career in sport. Williams explained: "That was my first real love, but then I was like, 'Listen. I'm playing professional tennis. I'll just do athleticwear.'"

Both Williams and her older sister Venus, 35, are known for their interesting fashion choices during tennis tournaments and it is something the Grand Slam queen is proud of. Williams told the magazine: "We brought fashion back to tennis. It was great when Chris Evert was around. Tracy Austin had some great designs. But the 1990s was not a good time."

In July, Williams was trolled by a Twitter user, who said she was "built like a man", but Harry Potter author JK Rowling jumped to her defence, tweeting: "#SerenaSlam! I love her. What an athlete, what a role model, what a woman!"

Although she may not be ready to retire from the sport just yet, Williams admits she is surprised at being able to sustain her tennis career for 16 years. She told the NYM reporter: "I didn't think it would last this long... But even if it was over, it's a really long career."