Serena Williams will miss the rest of the season due to pregnancy. Williams is expecting a baby later this year in fall. Williams is fresh off her win over older sister Venus in Australia earlier this year, winning her 23rd major trophy. Although Williams will miss the rest of the season, she is planning to return in 2018.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova will make her comeback from her 15-month doping ban. The 5-time Major champion will return in the next week’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart after being awarded a Wild Card. Sharapova will play her first WTA match since the 2016 Australian Open QF. However, she will be expecting a hostile return to the tour.
Former World No. 1, Victoria Azarenka is expecting her comeback in July. If she returns in July it would be 7 months since giving birth to her first child. Azarenka is scheduled to return at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. She won the Indian Wells and Miami last year before missing rest of the season due to pregnancy. Azarenka is a 2-time Major Champion, having won the Australian Open in 2012 & 2013. She is also a 2-time finalist at the US Open.
Williams’ absence may give a chance to others to finish No.1 and win tournaments. It would be interesting to see the comebacks of Sharapova and Azarenka as both would benefit from Williams’ absence. Also, World No. 1 Angelique Kerber would be looking to get back to winning ways. Players who are long awaiting to win their maiden Major trophy will have a better shot this year. Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep will be trying their best to win their first Major this year. This might well be their best opportunity.
The younger generation such as Elina Svitolina, Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova might well have their breakthrough seasons this year. Also, the resurgent Venus Williams, who made the finals with younger sister in Australia might well have a great season. With Serena missing and Sharapova & Azarenka returning, this season might throw in a lot of surprises in the tennis world.