Retired tennis star Maria Sharapova has announced that she is expecting her first child with fiancé Alexander Gilkes.
The former world number one tennis player revealed her pregnancy on her 35th birthday via an Instagram post, hailing the start of “precious beginnings”.
She posted a photo of herself standing on a beach while beaming at the camera and cradling her growing baby bump.
In the caption, the athlete wrote, “Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty.”
Friends and family rushed to congratulate the couple in the comments, including actress Lily Collins and Australian model Lara Worthington.
Gilkes, 42, also left a heart-eyed emoji under Sharapova’s post.
Sharapova has been engaged to Gilkes, a British businessman and friend of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since December 2020.
The couple, who publicly confirmed their relationship in 2018, announced the engagement on both of their Instagram accounts at the time.
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The five-time Grand Slam winner said in her post: “I said yes from the day we met. That was our little secret, wasn’t it @gilkesa?”
Gilkes wrote in the caption of his own post: “Thank you for making me a very, very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving and learning from you @mariasharapova.”
The businessman has been linked to the royal family for more than a decade, having guested at the Cambridges’ wedding in 2011 and at Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in 2018.
Sharapova retired from tennis in February 2020 after 28 years in the sport. She is one of ten women and the only Russian to reach the career Grand Slam.
Writing about her decision to retire in Vanity Fair, Sharapova said she would miss playing tennis every day.
“By giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” she wrote.
“I will miss my team, my coaches. I will miss the moments when I sat on the training ground bench with my father.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/maria-sharapova-announces-first-pregnancy-on-her-35th-birthday-41569422.html Maria Sharapova announces her first pregnancy on her 35th birthday