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Serena Williams, Sports Illustrated

Emmanuelle Hauguel/ SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Serena Williams is returning to Sports Illustrated for its 2017 Swimsuit Issue, and she's stepping into uncharted territory!

The tennis GOAT opted for even sexier swimsuit options than ever before, going for a thong-style bottom for the very first time.

"I've never worn a thong bikini, so for that to be my first shot was like a shot of espresso for me because I had to wake up immediately," she explained in a behind-the-scenes clip of her SI shoot. "The thong is perfect, it really made me feel comfortable. I'm officially a thong girl now!"

Williams donned several different yet equally hot looks—including a yellow, strappy two-piece, a turquoise, spandex one-piece and even a pair of peach bottoms with no top—and loved how every suit she put on was "better than the last." However, she did say she preferred the "modern one-piece where it's really, really high." 

She also tried out quite a few poses and locations. From laying down on the sand to posing in the water to letting loose in the shower, Williams really got to explore her options, all the while listening to '90s music to keep her feeling good.

"The shower scene was amazing, because I also wanted to do something like that," she admitted. "I've always wanted to let go—let my hair wet, let my face wet and take a supernatural picture that was strong and beautiful at the same time, and I really feel like we were able to achieve that with that shot."

In fact, that's something she wants SI readers to feel, too.

"I want people to come away with the fact that it's OK to be comfortable in your body," she expressed. "I'm not a size two. It's OK to look good and feel good and I'm strong. It's OK to look strong and to be sexy and to be a woman and to be unbreakable—all those things. I really want to have that influence for people out there that have my body type. I want them to be like, 'I look good too.' That's what I hope for."

Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue is on sale now!