Williams vows to return in 2018 after pregnancy

The 35 year-old snagged her 23rd title, and subsequently broke Steffi Graff's Grand Slam record by pulling an upset over her sister, Venus, in the final.

The sports world got what it thought was major news on Wednesday when Serena Williams posted what appeared to be a nice little baby bump to Snapchat with the caption "20 weeks", insinuating she was almost five months pregnant. But now her spokeswoman Kelly Bush Novak has stepped forward to confirm that she is expecting her baby during the fall of this year.

CNN reported the spokesperson saying that Serena and her fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian are expecting their first child.

Her sponsorship deals rake in about $20 million and business analysts say her impending motherhood would likely enhance her popularity among corporate sponsors.

There is recent precedent for tennis players to return to action after becoming mothers.

Serena and tech entrepreneur Alexis announced their engagement in the form of a poem in December 2016.

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Williams would not be the first player to leave the game for pregnancy and enjoy roaring success upon her return, with Belgian star Kim Clijsters winning the US Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011 following the birth of her daughter in 2008.

The Women's Tennis Association, which listed Williams as scheduled to enter next month's Madrid Open as recently as Monday, said they had yet to be contacted by anyone from the American's team regarding her status.

Court, who won the singles Grand Slam in 1970, gave birth to her first child in March 1972, aged 29, and returned to win three of the four Grand Slam events in 1973.

The most telling sign that the tennis player is indeed pregnant is her caption, which simply read "20 weeks", noted Buzzfeed. James Pivarnik, a kinesiology professor at Michigan State University, said her muscular build could overcome some of the changes that usually impair performance.

"We have not been informed, nor do we have confirmation", a tour spokesperson said. Similarly, two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka left the court past year and gave birth to a son, Leo.

Williams has won 10 of her 23 major singles titles since turning 30 and is by far the oldest women to hold the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings.

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