âHonestly, I was only half surprised,â Mouratoglou, 46, said of Williamsâs revealing her pregnancy to him on the telephone. âI was actually expecting it, because I know her by heart. I know how to read between the lines, even if she had told me nothing.â
Williams and Alexis Ohanian, an American entrepreneur, announced their engagement in late December. Ohanian traveled to Australia and attended Williamsâs matches in Melbourne.
Williams later withdrew from the tournaments at Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami in March, citing knee problems because, as Mouratoglou confirmed on Friday, she was not yet ready to announce her pregnancy.
âI imagine she wanted to wait to announce, like many women,â said Mouratoglou, who added that he had very little contact with Williams in the weeks after the Australian Open.
âNot much,â he said. âShe wasnât looking for the contact, and in light of the situation, if she didnât want to announce it or talk about it, it was not in her interest to have much contact.â
Mouratoglou expressed delight for Williams and Ohanian. From a tennis perspective, he said he was not upset about missing the chance to chase more titles in the coming months.
âHonestly, not,â he said. âI am not disappointed because I know how important what is happening right now is for her, and I also know thereâs a really good chance that sheâll come back afterward.
âWhat is fabulous is all these challenges, and now thereâs a new challenge thatâs incredible. Sheâll be over 35 and a new mother trying to win Grand Slams.â
Mouratoglou, a confident and enterprising Frenchman, recently opened a large tennis academy near Nice after having operated an academy in the Paris suburbs for years. He is also a prominent television analyst and has been one of the biggest factors in Williamsâs late-career renaissance.
When they began working together in 2012, Williams was 30, and Mouratoglou said she told him that she wanted to win one last major singles title.
She has far exceeded that. She won her first tournament with Mouratoglou â Wimbledon in 2012 â and has gone on to win 10 major singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles with him as her coach.
Once involved romantically, Mouratoglou and Williams have remained a team professionally. With Mouratoglouâs help, she has progressed from being a great player to making a strong case for consideration as the greatest womenâs tennis player in history.
Her record outside the major tournaments has not been as consistently excellent as that of predecessors like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. Williams has, however, won more Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era than anyone, male or female; she broke Grafâs record in Australia. Williams won her first at the 1999 United States…