Former world number one Maria Sharapova on Tuesday (April 19) used the occasion of her 35th birthday to announce that she was pregnant with her first child. The Russian five-time Grand Slam champion, who retired from the sport in 2020, shared the news on Instagram to her 4.2 million followers.
“Precious beginnings!!!,” she wrote alongside a photo of her standing on a beach and smiling. “Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty.”
In December, Sharapova and British businessman Alexander Gilkes revealed that they were engaged. Although she competed under the Russian flag during her career – and is the only Russian woman to have won a career Grand Slam – Sharapova has lived in the United States since she came to the country as a young tennis prodigy.
Maria got engaged to British millionaire Alexander Gilkes in December 2020. Gilkes is known as New York’s best-connected Briton whose ex-wife is also a friend of Meghan Markle.
According to the reports, Gilkes is understood to have become friends with Prince William when they were both at Eton and is also said to be close to Prince Harry, who also went to the same school. He was also a guest at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
The reports had also claimed that the couple was expected to attend the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2018.
Sharapova retired from professional tennis in 2020, just before the pandemic, with five Grand Slam singles titles (including a career Slam) and a 21-week stint as the WTA No. 1. She is the only Russian woman to have won a career Grand Slam.
Blue-checkmarked accounts and plenty of Sharapova’s 4.2 million Instagram followers wished the former great congratulations for the announcement, including her husband, Alexander Gilkes (@gilkesa).
This wasn’t the first big reveal Sharapova has made on IG. In late 2020, she announced her engagement on the platform.
(with Reuters inputs)