Serena Williams is pregnant

In what is the biggest news bombshell in tennis in recent times, tennis great Serena Williams has hinted that she is pregnant.

Williams, 35, on Wednesday confirmed her pregnancy through a spokeswoman, after posting a picture of herself in a yellow bathing suit on Snapchat social media 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 Bush Novak said.

"Sadly, I have to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open", Williams, who lives in West Palm, Fla., said in a statement released March 7.

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

Williams, who is 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 metres) and weighed 155 pounds (70 kg) according to her tennis association profile, won a 23rd Grand Slam tournament title at the Australian Open in January. In 2016, Williams shared another photo in which she's clad in a vibrant daffodil hue, that time while riding a horse on a tropical vacation she took after losing in the U.S. Open semifinals.

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. "@SerenaWilliams and @AlexisOhanian are expecting a baby this fall".

FILE - In this January 28, 2017, file photo, Serena Williams holds up a finger and her trophy after defeating her sister, Venus, in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Her appearance at the Australian Open tuneup event in Auckland, New Zealand, marked her first tournament since a semi-final exit at Flushing Meadows last September. And did not drop ONE SET. Let that sink in. Serena Williams has not played since, citing a knee injury.

In pregnancy, a woman's centre of gravity shifts forward to accommodate the growing fetus, which could affect Williams' stance. She holds 39 major titles, the most amongst active players. Kim Clijsters of Belgium retired and had a child before coming back at age 26 and winning three Grand Slam titles as a mother. Victoria Azarenka, a former No. 1 player and two-time Grand Slam champion, left the circuit in June and gave birth to a son, Leo, in December.