Simona Halep provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substance
MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams will take a break from fitness work for almost two weeks to ensure her baby is safe during her pregnancy before resuming her comeback at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Williams is one of three confirmed pregnant players this season, with her sister, Maria Sharapova, the other. Williams said she intends to use a time out between her next two tournaments to be with her unborn, healthy baby boy.
Williams revealed last month that she was pregnant with Alexis Olympia de Merode, who was born in January, and that she is six months pregnant.
The 33-year-old tennis star was handed a one-year suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy last month after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.
Williams also withdrew from the Australian Open, scheduled to begin on March 29, after failing to maintain a clean drug test over a period of four days at the US Open last month.
Williams was provisionally suspended for 180 days for failing a one-off drug test at the US Open but she will now be stripped of her 2018 Australian Open singles titles and her Grand Slam quarter-final win in last month’s Wimbledon final was annulled.
“There won’t be any changes, no changes at all,” Williams said Wednesday.
“I take full responsibility for it, knowing full well I knew I was wrong but I’m happy to learn from it and I’m glad I know I handled it right.
“I’m looking forward to my baby growing inside of me. I just want to be with him as long as possible, but I understand how it is. To be honest, I don’t even think about it anymore. I think about my life, my career.”
Williams, who began to show signs of stress when her sister Sharapova turned 40, withdrew from the BNP Paribas in January. Williams had been scheduled to play in the French Open on the grass last month but missed the second round.
“It’s very hard. It’s been a tough year,” she said. “I have just pushed through it. It’s been a tough year but I’m here right now, and I