Maria Sharapova Marks 35th Birthday With Big News

The retired tennis champion is expecting her first child with fiancé Alexander Gilkes
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2022 11:13 AM CDT
Maria Sharapova Is Expecting a Baby
Maria Sharapova of Russia attends a meeting with her fans at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2019 tennis tournament match in St. Petersburg, Russia on Jan. 30, 2019.   (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)

(Newser) – Maria Sharapova announced on Instagram that she is pregnant, writing "Precious beginnings. Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty." The message arrived on the same day as the retired tennis great’s 35th birthday. Per CNN, Sharapova is engaged to British businessman Alexander Gilkes, who "reacted to Sharapova's announcement with a simple heart-eye emoji." They started seeing each other a couple years before she retired in 2020. Sports Illustrated reports the long-time "highest-paid female athlete in the world" has focused on her brand, Sugarpova, and her charity, the Maria Sharapova Foundation, since retiring.

Sharapova, who lives with her family in Los Angeles, moved to the US from her native Russia in 1994. She made news last month when she joined the ranks of Russian athletes who have spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She took to Instagram encouraging people to donate in support of Ukraine’s children, writing, "With each day that goes by, I am more and more heartbroken and deeply saddened by the images and stories of families and children affected by this escalating crisis in Ukraine." Per Tennis World, she was "probably unfairly" criticized for not using the word "war" or directly condemning Russia’s actions. (Read more Maria Sharapova stories.)

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