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French Open: To be mommy Serena Williams arrives at Roland Garros as sister Venus advances

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AFP PHOTO / Eric FEFERBERG

The 23 Grand Slam winner Serena Williams who is expecting her first child with her fiance, co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, in the fall, calmly watched her sister Venus play at Roland Garros from a shaded area on the main Court Philippe Chatrier. Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s long-time coach, also joined her in the stands.

Serena’s last match had been the Australian Open finals in January, where she won an Open Era record 23rd Grand Slam against Venus.

After Venus reached the third round with a straight-sets defeat of Kurumi Nara, 6-3, 6-1, players and former competitors including France’s Natalie Dechy came over to say hello, pose for selfies and have a chat. Meanwhile, Serena Williams, 2002, 2013 and 2015 French Open winner, isn’t the only big star absent from the women’s draw at Roland Garros this year, making it one of the most wide open in years. A former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and two-time major winner, will make her return from maternity leave at Wimbledon while Russian star Maria Sharapova, a two-time Roland Garros winner, was denied a wild card by the French tennis federation.

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This year’s French Open marks the first time more than five year’s that Venus has competed in a major without Serena in the draw. According to Venus, both Williams sisters want to resume tennis’ greatest sister act at the Slams.