LOS ANGELES • Serena Williams was completely taken aback by her pregnancy, taking six home tests before believing she was expecting her first child, the tennis superstar told Vanity Fair magazine.
Williams, who poses nude on the cover of the magazine for its August issue, said she still had not come to terms with the prospect of being a mother, and plans to be back on court in January.
"It just doesn't seem real. I don't know why. Am I having a baby?" the 35-year-old said in the interview released on Tuesday.
The former No. 1, interviewed in May when she was six months pregnant, said she had made no preparations.
"I don't know what to do with a baby... I've done absolutely nothing for the baby room," she said.
Williams, who is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, 34, confirmed in April that she was expecting a baby in the autumn. She said she would take maternity leave through the remainder of this year.
The couple will marry after their child is born, according to Vanity Fair. They met in Rome in 2015 and announced their engagement last year.
Williams also said she found out she was pregnant about a week before winning her Open era-record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in January.
She said she had felt off her game but thought her hormones were acting up. A friend suggested she take a pregnancy test and when it came back positive she "did a double take and my heart dropped. Like literally, it dropped". She took five more home tests and later presented all six to Ohanian, who was as shocked as she was.
The American added that her fiance already has a tip jar he puts money into whenever he uses a profanity so he will not utter it around the baby.
The Vanity Fair cover emerged on the same day John McEnroe remained unapologetic for saying Williams would be ranked "like 700 in the world" if she competed on the men's circuit.
Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion McEnroe had said Williams was "the best female player ever" but insisted her performance on the men's circuit would be an "entirely different story".
"I've got a solution. Solve the problem, and I'm sure the men would be all for this - the men and women play together. And then we don't have to guess," he told American TV show CBS's This Morning on Tuesday.
On Monday, Williams asked the 58-year-old to leave her out of his statements and called for respect and privacy as she takes time off to have her child.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE