SYDNEY • Tennis superstar Serena Williams caused an Internet sensation early yesterday, by posing topless for a video while singing I Touch Myself to raise awareness for breast cancer.
In the Instagram video, the American former world No. 1 covers her breasts with her hands while singing a version of Australian band Divinyls' 1991 hit in support of Breast Cancer Network Australia.
"This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I've recorded a version of the Divinyls global hit I Touch Myself to remind women to self-check regularly," wrote Williams on the post.
"Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it's an issue that affects all women of all colours, all around the world. Early detection is key - it saves so many lives."
The song was co-written by Divinyls' Australian vocalist Chrissy Amphlett, who died of breast cancer five years ago aged 53.
"The music video is part of the I Touch Myself Project which was created in honour of celebrated diva, Chrissy Amphlett, who gave us her hit song to remind women to put their health first," added the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.
The video was viewed more than 1.3 million times in the first 10 hours after it was posted, with fans lauding Williams for her bravery in performing the song.
The video appeared less than three weeks after her tempestuous US Open final defeat by Japan's Naomi Osaka, where Williams smashed a racket and accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism.
Williams, who celebrated her 37th birthday last Wednesday, pulled out of this week's China Open in Beijing to bring a premature end to her 2018 season, her first back on Tour since giving birth to her daughter a year ago.
Former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport believes that despite Williams' age, the American can still be competitive for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"It's a couple of years away, but that's her main goal," she said.
"Serena Williams doesn't have a lot of free time, she is a businesswoman, she is practising, she has got a baby.
"But she has had no greater joy in her career than all the gold medals that she has won in singles and doubles with her sister (Venus).
"The absolute goal for her is to be there in a couple of years."