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Serena Williams.Reuters.

2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams is pregnant, her spokeswoman Kelly Bush Nova confirmed after the tennis ace posted a picture on Snapchat with a caption "20 weeks", only to delete it later. The WTA congratulated her on twitter after she put up the picture, but they too removed it.

If she is in fact 20 weeks pregnant as her Snapchat post suggests, then it means Serena was two months pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open. This makes her the third women to win a Grand Slam after Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong, who won Wimbledon in 1971 and 1980 respectively, while being pregnant.

Also read: Rafael Nadal targeting first title of 2017 at Monte Carlo Masters

After Serena deleted her Snapchat post, everyone started speculating if she was actually pregnant. But later her spokeswoman confirmed the news. She said "I'm happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall."

Serena will miss the rest of the 2017 season but her spokeswoman said she intends to return to the tennis court in 2018. The American tennis player announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in December.

The 23 time Grand Slam champion has not competed in any tournament since she won her 23rd major title at the Australian Open earlier this year. She was scheduled to play at the Indian Wells and the Miami Open but pulled out because of a knee injury. The only other tournament she competed this year was in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lost in the round of 16.

Serena is now the second tennis player to take a break from the sport in recent times after Victoria Azarenka decided to take one in June as she gave birth to her son Leo in December and is planning to return to the tennis court later this year.

The former world no.1 will turn 36 soon and it won't be a surprise if she returns in 2018 to win a few more titles before she calls time on her career. Kim Clijsters retired from tennis to start a family and then came back to win the US Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011.

The likes of Andy Roddick and Chris Evert and a number of other celebrities congratulated Serena on twitter.