Serena Williams Is 20 Weeks Pregnant
Reuters and AfricaMetro
Tennis superstar Serena Williams on Wednesday appeared to reveal she is pregnant, posting a photo of herself in a bathing suit on Snapchat with the caption “20 weeks.”
The 35-year-old, who will return to the No. 1 ranking in the world next week, later deleted the photo. Neither Williams nor her management team were immediately available for comment.
If Williams is indeed 20 weeks into her term, that would mean she was approximately two months pregnant when she captured her record 23rd Grand Slam tournament title at the Australian Open in January.
Her victory over older sister Venus Williams broke a tie with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles championships in the sport’s modern era. Serena Williams has not played since, citing a knee injury.
Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last December.
Other women have left the tour to have children and returned, including the Belgian player Kim Clijsters, who retired and had a child before coming back and winning three Grand Slam titles as a mother.
Williams, who has played professionally for two decades, first gained the No. 1 ranking in 2002 and has held that spot for more than six years in total during her career. She is often regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time.
Venus Williams, 36, has won seven Grand Slam singles titles.
If she is to give birth later this summer then she will surely not be seen on a tennis court for the rest of the year.
Any return would not be until well past her 36th birthday, which is bound to raise the question about whether a truly great career is at an end.
The younger Williams sister has won 23 Grand Slams, is just one short of Margaret Court, who collected many of hers in an era when the difficulties of international travel often diluted the fields.
Her absence would leave the chase for the biggest prizes wide open for the likes of Britain’s Jo Konta, currently the world number seven.
The elite level of the WTA Tour is already without some of its biggest names for a variety of reasons. Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is still recovering from the effects of a dreadful assault at her home which damaged her hand.
Maria Sharapova is coming back next week from a 15-month doping suspension while Victoria Azarenka is due to return this summer after having a child of her own. Relatively recent Grand Slam winners such as Li Na and Marion Bartoli retired while Garbine Muguruza has not followed up on her French Open title of 2016.
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.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Grant McCool)