5-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova announces first pregnancy on 35th birthday

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Maria Sharapova celebrated her 35th birthday with a special announcement. The five-time Grand Slam champion is pregnant with her first child.

"Precious beginnings!!! Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty," she wrote in the post with a photo of her on the beach.

Sharapova confirmed her engagement to British businessman Alexander Gilkes, 42, in December 2020. They've been together since 2018.

Sharapova, a former No. 1 world-ranked player, retired from tennis in February 2020 at the age of 32. The Russian native came onto the scene in 2004 at the age of 17 when she defeated No. 1 seed Serena Williams in the Wimbledon singles final. Her Grand Slam haul includes the 2006 U.S. Open, 2008 Australian Open and two French Open titles in 2012 and 2014. She is one of only 10 women to win all four Grand Slams at least once.

In 10 Grand Slam appearances she faced Williams four times, winning only the first. Sharapova also won a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where she faced Williams in the final. And she earned 36 World Tennis Association (WTA) titles in her career.

That career took a different trajectory in 2016 when she was banned for two years for testing positive for meldonium, a performance enhancer. It was later reduced to 15 months under her claim she took the heart medication for a decade due to a magnesium deficiency.

The tennis superstar's deals over the years included Evian, TAG Heuer, Nike and Therabody, for which Sharapova serves as strategic adviser. The company wrote a congratulatory message under her Instagram announcement Wednesday. She was the highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 consecutive years, peaking at $30 million in earnings in 2015, according to Forbes. Her career prize money totals at least $39 million.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 06: Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes attend The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes attend the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
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