Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Pregnant Serena Williams plans 2018 tennis return

Pregnant Serena Williams plans 2018 tennis return

The tennis superstar will take maternity leave for the remainder of 2017 following news of her pregnancy, according to her rep.

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. Williams will turn 36 in September, but her spokeswoman Kelly Bush Novak said that while Williams would miss the rest of the 2017 season, she meant to return to the circuit in 2018. The pregnant athlete will miss the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open, but plans to return to tennis in 2018.

Williams on Wednesday confirmed her pregnancy through spokeswoman Kelly Bush Novak after the tennis player posted a picture of herself in a yellow bathing suit on Snapchat social media with the caption "20 weeks".

"20 weeks", she captioned the pic. "I can't see her being able to perform at a level she'd need to win", he said.

After the flurry of well-wishes, a question quickly came to the fore: can Williams, who turns 36 in September, return from having her first child and overtake Australia's Margaret Court for the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles crowns?

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Williams won the 2009 and 2010 Australian and Wimbledon crowns but stepped on broken glass in a Munich restaurant in July and missed nearly a full year due to a pulmonary embolism.

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.

Meanwhile Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion will be eager to return from injuries sustained at her home in December.

As a result of this, you can imagine the relief on the following players now that she's "out of the way". The feat made Clijsters the first mother to win a Grand Slam singles crown since 29-year-old Evonne Goolagong Cawley won the 1980 Wimbledon championship three years after giving birth to her first daughter. "I hope she's going to come back and play again because I'll miss her to death". She has just two wins in 21 head-to-head meetings with rival Williams.

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