Tennis superstar Serena Williams, who is pregnant and taking maternity leave through the rest of 2017, is expected to give birth this fall, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday in an announcement.
The confirmation came hours after Williams, due to regain to the No. 1 world ranking next week, set off a day of frenzied speculation with a short-lived selfie posted on social media – posing for a photo in a yellow one-piece swimsuit on Snapchat with the caption: "20 weeks."
Williams deleted the photo shortly after it appeared and waited more than six hours to make any public comment, stoking 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 publicist Kelly 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.
Her victory over older sister Venus Williams broke a tie with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles championships in the sport's modern era. Serena Williams has not played since, citing a knee injury.
Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last December.
Other women have left the tour to have children and returned, including Belgian player Kim Clijsters, who retired and had a child before coming back and winning three Grand Slam titles as a mother.
Williams, who has played professionally for two decades, first gained the No. 1 ranking in 2002 and has held that spot for more than six years in total during her career. She is often regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time.
Venus Williams, 36, has won seven Grand Slam singles titles.