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20 Apr, 2022 08:39

Sharapova announces baby joy

The Russian former tennis queen shared the news with her followers on social media
Sharapova announces baby joy

Russian former tennis star Maria Sharapova has announced that she is expecting her first child, sharing the news with fans on her birthday along with an image of her growing baby bump.

“Precious beginnings!!! Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty,” wrote Sharapova to her 4.2 million Instagram followers, adding a picture of herself standing on a beach and cradling her stomach.

The post came as Sharapova celebrated turning 35 on Tuesday.

The Russian five-time Grand Slam winner is engaged to millionaire British art-dealer Alexander Gilkes, after going public with their romance back in 2018. 

RT

“I said yes from the first day we met,” Sharapova wrote at the time of their engagement in December 2020. 

Gilkes, 42, is a well-connected member of the British elite who is said to be close to Princes William and Harry.

Sharapova was among sport’s biggest stars after bursting onto the scene by winning Wimbledon at the age of 17 in 2004, defeating Serena Williams in the final.

The Russian star would go on to add Grand Slam titles at the US Open and Australian Open, as well as two triumphs on the clay courts of Roland-Garros.

With her striking good looks, Sharapova was a marketers’ dream and topped the Forbes list of the highest-paid women’s athletes in the world for more than a decade.

The tail-end of her career was marred by a 15-month suspension for using meldonium, which was added to the banned WADA list but apparently escaped the attention of Sharapova’s team.

Sharapova returned to claim another WTA title at the Tianjin Open in China and rose as high as world number 21, but injuries forced her to frequently withdraw from events before she announced her retirement in February 2020.

The US-based star has continued to be a feature at glamorous events, being seen smiling alongside the Williams sisters at the Met Gala in New York last year, in images which surprised many considering the often frosty on-court relations between the tennis stars.

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