Serena Williams reveals she is 20 weeks pregnant with first child

Yesterday, Williams posted a photo of herself standing sideways with the caption "20 weeks" on Snapchat, then deleted it.

If Williams is pregnant, she's also managed to remain remarkably active.

While she was quick to remove the photo from her account, her publicist has since confirmed the news she is pregnant.

The tennis superstar, who will return to No1 next week, will thus miss the rest of the 2017 season, though the announcement added that Williams aims to return to action in 2018, the year in which she turns 37.

Venus Williams, 36, has won seven Grand Slam singles titles.

Williams, 35, is already known around the world for her dominance of women's tennis, but pregnancy would make her even more likeable in the eyes of the wider public, experts in the sponsorship industry said. She was likely two months pregnant at the time.

With 23 Grand Slam wins, Williams holds the record for the most by a player in the Open Era.

While Williams could conceivably choose to continue playing tennis through her pregnancy (track athlete Alysia Montano continued training throughout her pregnancy and ran the 800-meter at the us track and field championships while almost eight months pregnant), Williams' absence from the tour so far indicates she might not return to competition until after the birth of her child-if she even wants to come back at all.

Serena Williams and finacé Alex Ohanian got engaged in December.

At the time she blamed the withdrawal, which meant she lost her number one world ranking to Angelique Kerber, on a knee injury.

"She's such a great champion and I'm sure she'll come back with a vengeance".

Williams is the second leading women's tennis player to announce a pregnancy in the past year.

Williams, one of the greatest US athletes active today, is the highest-paid female athlete in the world.

Belgium's Kim Clijsters came out of retirement at the age of 26 after having a child and won three Grand Slam titles.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was one of the game's top threats when she left last year to have her first child and the 27-year-old will have one of her main obstacles removed when she returns to competition later in 2017.

  • Julie Sanders