Motherhood no obstacle for Serena's return, says Court

The 23-time grand-slam victor confirmed on Wednesday she is pregnant with her first child.

Serena Williams left the tennis world in a state of confusion last night after posting a selfie subtitled "20 weeks", only to remove her Snapchat announcement soon after.

It's been a little over a year and a half since Serena Williams found love in the person of Alexis Ohanian.

Earlier in the day, Williams posted a photo of herself on Snapchat with the caption "20 weeks", sparking all sorts of speculation on social media about whether she was, indeed, with child.

The 35-year-old collected her 23rd Grand Slam win of an wonderful tennis career at this year's Australian Open that saw her surpass the Open era record set by Steffi Graf. Most notably, the American's former rival, Kim Clijsters went on to win three Grand Slam singles titles at the US Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011 after giving birth to her daughter Jada in 2008.

"I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall".

"Coming back after Daniel I had one of my best years ...(but) I was quite a few years younger (than Serena)", Court told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

The photo was quickly deleted but her representative later confirmed the pregnancy.

The beginning of Williams' maternity leave coincides with the imminent return of two other big names on the tennis stage.

She beat her sister Venus in the final 6-4, 6-4 to claim her seventh title at the Australian Open. She has announced that she will return to the tour this summer.

Williams, though, has set "oldest ever" milestones for years.

Court, 74, was the first mother to win a major as a professional. She sustained a serious foot injury, then a life-threatening pulmonary embolism the following spring, but returned to play Wimbledon, where she made the fourth round, and reached the US Open final a couple of months later. "She's already done so much, does she need more?"

The younger Williams sister has won 23 Grand Slams, is just one short of Margaret Court, who collected many of hers in an era when the difficulties of global travel often diluted the fields.

Any return would not be until well past her 36th birthday, which is bound to raise the question about whether a truly great career is at an end.

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