Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian announce pregnancy with Snapchat pic

Serena Williams

But the news was out, and her spokeswoman, Kelly Bush Novak, soon afterwards confirmed to Associated Press and Reuters that Williams is indeed expecting a baby in the autumn.

Serena William Flaunting her baby bump.

Maria Sharapova, who incidentally turned 30 on the day that the Williams' news broke, has serving a doping suspension since the Australian Open previous year, but is due to return next week. She holds 39 major titles, the most amongst active players.

Fans of the 35-year-old were quick to praise the athlete on social media for her Australian Open win against her sister Venus, with many quick-thinking tweeters doing the pregnancy math.

She was sidelined for nearly 12 months after her 2010 Wimbledon victory, returning from a potentially life threatening pulmonary embolism. Arguably the greatest tennis player - male or female - based on achievements, quality of opponents, era and tenacity, Williams is only one Grand Slam win away from tying Australian Margaret Court's record 24.

Serena's announcement has also earned her heaps of praise, as the fact that she's 20 weeks' pregnant means she was expecting when she won the Australian Open in January - impressive stuff.

In a unusual oddity in the rankings Williams will climb back to the world number one spot on Monday, despite three months of inactivity.

She got engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian at the end of past year.

The Australian Open was her last competitive match, as in March she pulled out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and a WTA Tour event in Miami.

Without Williams, who was next due to play in May's Madrid Open, there would be a massive vacuum and a near free for all when it comes to the battle for the sport's biggest prizes.

"We'll look forward to seeing her when she's back competing again".

"This will enhance her likeability and certainly her marketability", Mr Fechter said of Williams.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 27, won the Indian Wells and Miami titles in March of previous year before missing the rest of the season after announcing she was expecting a baby in December.

That victory also marked an Open-era record of 23 grand-slam titles for Serena.

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