Former world No. 1 and two-time U.S. Open finalist Victoria Azarenka may miss the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year due to a custody battle over her son.
“The way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind,” Azarenka said in a statement. “Like most working mothers I am faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away. Balancing childcare and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace.”
According to TMZ, Azarenka and her ex-boyfriend split up last month after Wimbledon, prompting him to file for custody of their son in California. In the same report from last week, Azarenka was informed by the judge that her son cannot leave the state until the custody battle is settled. The report also goes on to say she does not want to leave her eight-month-old son alone with her ex-boyfriend and has a valid custody order from her home country of Belarus that the judge will not honor. The dispute could go on until October.
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Azarenka, who returned to tennis in June after giving birth to her son last December, finished as runner-up in Flushing Meadows in both 2012 and 2013. Her only Grand Slam victories have come down under at the Australian Open in the same years as her runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open.
The 28-year-old Azarenka also missed this week’s Cincinnati Open due to a “family matter”. This year, she lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon and withdrew from the Bank of the West Classic in California due to illness.
The U.S. Open begins August 28th in New York City. For tickets, click here.