Serena expecting baby this year

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Fri, Apr 21, 2017 - Page 16

Serena Williams is expecting a baby and will not play again this year, but aims to return to the women’s tour next year.

The 35-year-old posted a picture of herself captioned “20 weeks,” and her publicist Kelly Bush Novak made an official announcement.

“I’m happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall,” the publicist said.

While Williams will not play again this year, “she looks forward to returning in 2018,” Bush Novak said.

A social media post by Williams showed the 35-year-old in a yellow swimsuit that showed the baby bump.

However, the post was taken down.

“The GOAT herself @serenawilliams took to Snapchat to announce she’s 20 weeks pregnant! Congratulations Serena!” the US Tennis Association, organizers of the US Open — which Williams has won six times — tweeted, using the acronym for “Greatest Of All Time.”

The Women’s Tennis Association deleted one congratulatory tweet, because it did not have confirmation, but later said: “It’s official! @SerenaWilliams and @AlexisOhanian are expecting a baby this fall.”

In December last year, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, first sharing that news on the Reddit social media site.

If Williams is 20 weeks into her pregnancy, that means she 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.

Retired ATP Tour player Andy Roddick cheered the news.

“There’s gonna be a baby GOAT... We are so happy, and we know @serenawilliams will be a great mother,” Roddick wrote on Twitter.

Williams has not played since her Australian Open triumph, which saw her surpass Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era.

Williams would not be the first top women’s player to return to competition after having a baby, but she would be the oldest.

In other tennis news, Chan Chin-wei of Taiwan yesterday advanced to the semi-finals of the doubles at the Zhengzhou Open in China with partner Monique Adamczak of Australia.

They defeated the Thai-Japanese pairing of Peangtarn Plipuech and Kotomi Takahata 7-6, 6-7, 10-6 in 1 hour, 47 minutes.

They face Jacqueline Cako of the US and Israel’s Julia Glushko today.

Additional reporting by staff writer