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September 26, 2017

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Spokesperson confirms that Serena Williams is pregnant, out for year

LOS ANGELES -- Serena Williams is expecting a baby this year, her spokesperson confirmed Wednesday, hours after the tennis great hinted at the news in a Snapchat post.

"I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this Fall," Los Angeles-based publicist Kelly Bush Novak said in a statement emailed to AFP.

While Williams won't play again this year, "she looks forward to returning in 2018," Bush Novak said.

Williams' Snapchat post, quickly highlighted in U.S. media, showed the 35-year-old in a yellow swimsuit that revealed an apparent baby bump.

But the post was quickly taken down, lending an air of mystery to its meaning.

"The GOAT herself @serenawilliams took to Snapchat to announce she's 20 weeks pregnant! Congratulations Serena!" the U.S. Tennis Association, organizers of the U.S Open — which Williams has won six times — tweeted, using the acronym for "Greatest Of All Time."

But the Women's Tennis Association deleted a congratulatory tweet and acknowledged in a statement they had not had confirmation of the news.

It was hours before they could tweet: "It's official! @SerenaWilliams and @AlexisOhanian are expecting a baby this fall."

In December, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, first sharing that news on the Reddit social media site.

If Williams is 20 weeks into her pregnancy, that means she was already expecting when she won her record-setting 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January — where she beat her elder sister Venus in the final.

For fans and friends the announcement underscored Williams' superwoman status.

Retired ATP Tour player Andy Roddick cheered the news.

"There's gonna be a baby GOAT ..... We are so happy, and we know @serenawilliams will be a great mother," the fellow American wrote on his Twitter account.

Williams hasn't played since her Australian Open triumph, which saw her surpass Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era.

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