According to her 'snap' announcement, the recently minted Australian Open champion is believed to have been with child when she downed her sister, Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-4 to claim the title.
Yesterday, Williams posted a photo of herself standing sideways with the caption "20 weeks" on Snapchat, then deleted it. However, the 35-year-old mom-to-be did not comment beyond the photo and its two-word caption, which created a frenzy. But, a spokeswoman for Williams, Kelly Bush Novak, addressed the media soon after: "I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall."
Williams, who is currently ranked number 2 in the world, has not played in a tournament since she won Australia. She pulled out of her next two scheduled events – Indian Wells and Miami – citing a left knee injury. Her only other tournament this year was in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lost in the round of 16. 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 wins.
Williams, who announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian late last year, plans to return to the tour in 2018. Challenging for post-pregnancy major titles are neither unusual nor improbable in tennis, considering Belgian Kim Clijsters retired from the game, started a family, unretired, then won three Grand Slams. Court also claimed a major after she became a mom. Another former world number 1 and major champion, Victoria Azarenka, is also angling for a return to the game, after becoming a mother last year.
Williams' 23 Grand Slam singles titles are a record for the Open era, which began in 1968. Court, who sits alone atop the list of slam winners with 24, won some of her majors during the amateur era.