April 19 (Reuters) – Tennis superstar Serena Williams is pregnant and expecting to deliver her first baby this fall, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday, capping a day of intense speculation set off by a short-lived selfie posting on social media.
Williams, who has not played since her Australian Open win in January, citing a knee injury, plans to sit out the rest of the 2017 season and return to competition in 2018, her publicist, Kelly Bush Novak, said in a statement.
The confirmation came hours after the 35-year-old athlete posted a picture of herself in a yellow one-piece swimsuit on the photo-sharing site Snapchat with the caption: “20 weeks.”
Williams, who will return to the No. 1 ranking in the world next week, deleted the photo shortly after it appeared. She waited more than six hours to make any public comment, stoking furious debate among tennis fans about whether or not she was joking.
“I’m happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall,” Los Angeles-based Bush Novak said.
If Williams is indeed 20 weeks into her term, that would mean she was approximately two months pregnant when she captured her record 23rd Grand Slam tournament title at the Australian Open in January.