Motherhood no obstacle for Serena: Court

Serena Williams hints on Snapchat she's pregnant

Serena Williams just served the internet.

Four-time Olympic tennis gold medallist Serena Williams has announced she is pregnant and will sit the rest of the 2017 campaign out.

The 35-year-old American, who won this year's Australian Open title, her 23 women's singles Grand Slam, confirmed via a statement from her publicist that she is expecting her first child with Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news website Reddit.

She has bestrode tennis like a colossus, and now it looks like she may have won the Australian Open in January while in the early stages of pregnancy.

She later deleted it, and a congratulatory tweet from the Women's Tennis Association was also removed.

Her only other tournament this year was in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lost in the round of 16.

Bush Novak told Reuters that Williams meant to sit out the remainder of the 2017 season and return next year.

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Sharapova holds career head-to-head advantages over Kerber (4-3), Venus Williams (5-3), Karolina Pliskova (1-0) and Garbine Muguruza (3-0) - each of the non-Serena grand slam finalists since she was suspended from the game.

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

She is often regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time. James Pivarnik, a kinesiology professor at Michigan State University, said her muscular build could overcome some of the changes that usually impair performance.

Next Monday she is due to go back to number one, despite only having played two ranking tournaments outside the Grand Slams in the last twelve months, plus the Olympics.

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.

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, a close friend of Williams, also welcomed the news. And who can forget the picture of Alysia Montaño running the 800m while 34 weeks pregnant with her daughter? She has announced that she will return to the tour this summer. "She's already done so much, does she need more?" She won it again the next year, followed by the Australian Open title, making her the first mother to win a Major since Evonne Cawley in 1980.

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