It was roughly 24 hours ago that Serena Williams told the world she is pregnant. It was an amazing moment and we should all be ecstatic for her. It will be a blast to see Serena become a mother.
But now that we've had time to digest the news, there is a tennis angle to discuss. Serena's pregnancy could have an intriguing domino effect on the WTA Tour.
The door is open for Venus Williams to win another Gand Slam.
The elder Williams sister, who turns 37 in June, is experiencing a tremendous second wind. From 2011-2013, Venus won just a single tournament and did not clear the fourth round of a Grand Slam, missing one slam each season.
Venus could have retired as one of the greatest players in history. But she still felt she had more in the tank. In 2014, she reached four tournament finals, winning one. In 2015, she won three titles and reached the quarterfinals at two Grand Slams. In 2016, she climbed to No. 6 in the world -- her highest ranking since No. 5 in 2011 -- and she made a semifinal at Wimbledon.
This January, Venus started 2017 by clawing her way to the final at the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam final since 2009 Wimbledon. She lost, 4-6, 4-6, to Serena.
Venus has dueled Serena nine times at a Grand Slam final, going 2-7. She is 5-10 against Serena all time in Grand Slams, losing the past five meetings. Serena eliminated Venus in three of the past seven Grand Slams.
Venus is 14-5 so far in 2017. Along with her run to the Australian Open Final, she reached the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and the semifinals at the Miami Open, after beating world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the quarters. Venus ranked No. 12, but with Serena out, her résumé is the most loaded on tour.
"When I'm playing on the court with her, I think I'm playing the best competitor in the game," Venus said before the Australian Open Final. "I don't think I'm chump change, either. I can compete against any odds. No matter what, I get out there and I compete. So, it's like two players who really, really can compete -- then, also, they can play tennis."
From a psychological standpoint, all engines must be a go for Venus, who oh by the way, has probably known about this pregnancy significantly longer than any of us have. She is playing some of her best tennis and her kryptonite for the past decade and a half is out of the sport for at least the next three majors, if not four. Venus knows there are better players in the world right now. At her age, she is not the greatest talent, but she is the greatest champion on tour.
It's a win-win for Venus. She gets to become an aunt and she gets a chance to return to tennis glory!
To put it bluntly, Serena's pregnancy is bad for the WTA business. Serena is women's tennis' biggest draw, especially in the United States, and she is out indefinitely. For Venus, this means she will be the most recognized name wherever she plays for the rest of the season. For the first time since 2002, Venus Williams is the most marketable active player in tennis.
Do your part, American fans. Cheer for Venus wherever you go. This is her last lunge (although we've been wrong on that before). Expectations will be low on the clay courts of the French Open where Venus has not reached quarterfinals since 2006. But Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, where she has reached a combined 12 finals, are prime settings for Venus to return to the top of the podium.
Of course, Venus' greatest fan is the reason for all this. No one would be happier than Serena if Venus wins a Grand Slam. If the doctors let her go to Paris or London or heck, even New York City (right around when the baby is due), Serena will be cheering her heart out for Venus.
Soon-to-be-Aunt Venus, that is.