Serena Williams shows off her baby bump on Snapchat

Serena Williams shows off her baby bump on Snapchat

Serena Williams shows off her baby bump on Snapchat

Williams announced her engagement to the co-founder of the website Reddit, 33-year-old Alexis Ohanian, in December after dating for more than a year.

A short statement from her representative on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) said: "I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this Fall".

She sparked speculation Wednesday after posting a mysterious picture that was later taken down and confused the internet for a bit.

Serena Williams and fiance Alexis Ohanian were all smiles Monday in a new photo.

The timing means Williams was already expecting when she won her record-setting 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January - where she beat her elder sister Venus in the final.

The Women's Tennis Association congratulated Williams on Twitter before deleting its post. She was wearing a one-piece bathing suit with a caption reading "20 weeks".

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The photo was later deleted, but a spokeswoman for Williams, Kelly Bush Novak, confirmed that she was indeed pregnant. And the older I get, the more I'm like, 'I'm too young!'.

Other women have left the tour to have children and returned at a high level, though none has done so at Williams' age.

Five-times Grand Slam victor Maria Sharapova, who returns to competition next week after a 15-month doping ban, could also benefit if she rediscovers her top form. Court, an Australian, won the last three of those titles in 1973 after giving birth to a son, Danny, in 1972. Still, at the time, she was much more focused on the Australian Open. Austin asked. "We've seen a lot of great great champions come back after having a child and it really comes down to her motivation".

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. Surely she will have some motivations, like passing Margaret Smith Court's 24 Major titles and competing again against her biggest rivals, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka who became a mother in December.

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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