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Victoria Azarenka on possibly missing Open because of child care issue

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USA TODAY

Published 10:47 a.m. ET Aug. 17, 2017 | Updated 12:07 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2017

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On Thursday, tennis player Victoria Azarenka released a statement saying she may miss the U.S. Open due to the ongoing legal process with the father of her son.
USA TODAY Sports

Victoria Azarenka penned a heartfelt note about being a working mom while explaining why she may not be playing in this month’s U.S. Open.

Azarenka writes that she is faced “with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away.”

She is involved in legal proceedings with her ex-boyfriend Billy McKeague over the custody of their son Leo, who was born in December. 

“Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, 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 in California, which I’m not willing to do,” Azarenka wrote on social media Thursday.

She has traveled on Tour with Leo, who was with her at Wimbledon. She’s one of a few players who have juggled motherhood and playing professionally on Tour.

The former No. 1-ranked player from Belarus has won the Australian Open twice. She reached the finals of the 2013 U.S. Open.

In her Twitter post, she expressed gratitude from men and women who have supported her and “recognize the importance of working moms and our right to be with our children.”

Azarenka met McKeague in Hawaii while he was working as a golf pro at upscale resorts, according to a New York Times report. 

In July at Wimbledon, Azarenka spoke of the need for daycare services at tournaments. “From my own power, I’ll do anything to make that happen, because I think it’s really  important,” she said. “The guys (playing the ATP Tour) do have that luxury of having the nurseries and stuff at every event and I think it’s time for women to have the same benefit. Because I think for women it’s much more important and harder.”

In her post Thursday, Azarenka wrote that she’s optimistic the situation will be resolved soon. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career,” she wrote. 

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