The most successful female player of the Open era, Serena Williams, is pregnant and will be taking maternity leave through the rest of 2017
The news of her pregnancy is coming just 12 weeks after winning her record 23rd Grand Slam. It means Williams was around eight weeks pregnant during the Melbourne Park event when she won seven straight matches, including a straight-sets win over sister Venus in the women’s final.
According to her spokeswoman, the 35-year-old American is due to give birth in the autumn.
The world number two had posted a picture on social media app Snapchat, posing in a mirror with the message: “20 weeks”, before deleting it.
This means that Serena Williams will miss the rest of the season, having not played since winning in Melbourne, citing a knee injury.
Ms. Williams had announced her engagement to the co-founder of community news and chat site Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, in December.
She is second only to Australian Margaret Court on the list of women’s all-time Grand Slam singles titles leaders – Court won 24 titles between 1960 and 1973.
Court, who won the singles Grand Slam in 1970, gave birth to her first child in March 1972, aged 29, and returned to win three of the four Grand Slam events in 1973.
Williams is a five-time Tour finals winner, the last of which came in 2014 and was recently picked as the greatest female tennis player of the Open era by BBC Sports readers.
Williams would be eligible to retain her ranking under the WTA special ranking rule if she is ready to play her first tournament within 12 months of giving birth.
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka gave birth to her first child in December and is expected to return to competition at the end of July.