Maria Sharapova announces her first pregnancy on her 35th birthday

Retired tennis player Maria Sharapova announced that she is expecting her first child with fiancé Alexander Gilkes.

The former world number one tennis player revealed her pregnancy via Instagram on her 35th birthday, celebrating the start of “precious beginnings”.

Sharapova posted a photo of herself on the beach smiling at the camera and cradling her growing baby bump.

In the caption, the former 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 on 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 their engagement on their respective Instagram accounts at the time.

The five-time Grand Slam champion said in her post: “I said yes from the first day we met. This was our little secret, wasn’t it @gilkesa?

Gilkes wrote in the caption of his 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. He was invited to the Cambridge wedding in 2011 and to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding 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 win a career Grand Slam.

Writing about his decision to retire in Vanity FairSharapova said she would miss playing tennis every day.

“By giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” he wrote.

“I will miss my team, my coaches. I will miss the times sitting with my father on the practice court bench.”

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