Serena Williams confirms pregnancy after earlier Snapchat post

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World No 2 tennis player Serena Williams has announced she is 20 weeks pregnant on social media.

Williams sent social media and the tennis world into frenzy on Wednesday when she posted a photo of herself on Snapchat with a caption that read simply "20 weeks" before the 23-time major victor deleted the post.

Williams' Snapchat post, quickly highlighted in USA media, showed the 35-year-old American in a yellow swimsuit with a baby bump.

"I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this Fall", publicist Kelly Bush Novak said in an email to AFP. She pulled out of her next two scheduled events - Indian Wells and Miami - citing a left kne.

Fans were shocked in December when Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, as many didn't even know the pair were dating. She last played in late January, winning the Australian Open by beating her sister Venus Williams and capturing her 23 Grand Slam title. "Congratulations Serena!" the US Tennis Association, organisers of the US Open which Williams has won six times tweeted, using the acronym for "Greatest Of All Time".

"I have not been able to train", she said in a statement before Indian Wells.

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

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Serena Williams posted a baby bump photo to Snapchat. Of course, motherhood doesn't mean end of the career for a woman's tennis player.

Since the birth of son Leo, Azarenka has returned to training and plans to return to competition at the WTA tournament in Stanford, California, in July.

Over the past year Williams' schedule has included few tournaments outside the Grand Slams.

Williams would appear to be out for the rest of this tennis season, a blow to a sport in which she is an unqualified star - and, of course, something that makes major titles easier to come by for other competitors. "I will keep moving forward and continue to be positive. I want them to be like, 'I look good too.' That's what I hope for".

Serena Williams returns a shot during her third-round match against fellow American Nicole Gibbs at the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 21, 2017.

With Williams and her representatives now being tight-lipped, however, no one is quite sure.

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