Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Serena Williams is 20 weeks pregnant

Serena Williams intends to return to tennis in 2018 after her pregnancy was confirmed late on Wednesday night.

She posted the picture on Snapchat of her wearing a yellow one-piece swimsuit with the caption "20 weeks".

In December, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, first sharing that news on the Reddit social media site.

She was already nearly two months pregnant during that historic victory over her sister Venus Williams, which saw her become the most decorated tennis player of the Open Era and her first child is due later this year.

"I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall". Triumphing 6-4, 6-4 in the final, she didn't drop a single set on her way to lifting the trophy.

Belarusian former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam victor, is also set for a return to the Tour later this year after giving birth to her son Leo in December.

The Women's Tennis Association congratulated Williams on Twitter before deleting its post.

She won a grand slam pregnant.

Grand Slam singles title number 24 will have to wait for Williams, and whilst her absent to the tour will be a huge loss, it will create big opportunities for some tennis players to get their hands on the three of the last four remaining Grand Slam titles available.

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

Researchers who study pregnancy in high-performing athletes said her training during pregnancy, the speed of her body's recovery after giving birth and her will power are the keys to Williams returning to top-level play.

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 worldwide travel often diluted the fields.

For Williams, who commands almost $29 million in salary and sponsorship earnings, becoming pregnant makes her all the more attractive to corporate sponsors, industry executives said.

Her absence would leave the chase for the biggest prizes wide open for the likes of Britain's Jo Konta, now the world number seven.

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.

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