Maria Sharapova baby reveal sends tennis world into frenzy

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·Sports Reporter
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Maria Sharapova and fiancee Alexander Gilkes are pictured with their baby Theodore.
Maria Sharapova and fiancee Alexander Gilkes have welcomed their first baby, a boy named Theodore. Pictures: Instagram/Getty Images

Tennis great Maria Sharapova has stunned fans with the announcement of the birth of her first child, a baby boy named Theodore.

Sharapova sent the tennis world into a frenzy back in April when she revealed she and fiancee Alexander Gilkes were expecting their first child.

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Sharing a photo of the family with baby Theodore for the first time, Sharapova said the new chapter in the couple's lives was the 'most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding gift our little family could ask for'.

Sharapova and English businessman Gilkes, both 42, have been partners since 2018.

The tennis icon showed off her baby bump in a photo on social media to celebrate her birthday earlier this year.

Gilkes is one of the most connected men in the UK and reportedly became friends with Prince William when they were both at Eton College.

He is also said to be close to Prince Harry, who also went to the school.

The British businessman - who has a reported net worth of $20 million - is also the ex-husband of Meghan Markle’s best friend Misha Nonoo.

He and five-time grand slam winner Sharapova celebrated their engagement back in 2020, with Gilkes reportedly splashing out on a $523,000 engagement ring.

Sharapova, a former World No.1, retired from tennis in February 2020 at the age of 32.

“How do you leave behind the only life you‘ve ever known?" she wrote to fans at the time.

“How do you walk away from the courts you‘ve trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love – one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys – a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?

“I‘m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye.”

Tennis great Maria Sharapova announces birth of first child

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. She has also 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.

Maria Sharapova is pictured conentrating on a return at Brisbane International in 2020.
Maria Sharapova retired from tennis in 2020 as a five time grand slam champion and former World No.1. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

It was later reduced to 15 months under her claim she took the heart medication for a decade due to a magnesium deficiency.

Sharapova lifted the lid on how a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Serena Williams sparked her decision to hang up the racquet.

“There is no mastering tennis – you must simply keep heeding the demands of the court while trying to quiet those incessant thoughts in the back of your mind,” Sharapova wrote in a farewell article.

“Did you do enough - and more - to prepare for your next opponent? You’ve taken a few days off - your body’s losing that edge. That extra slice of pizza? Better make up for it with a great morning session.

“Listening to this voice so intimately, anticipating its every ebb and flow, is also how I accepted those final signals when they came."

With agencies

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