Azarenka set to miss US Open – ‘not willing’ to leave son amidst custody battle

 

By Ros Satar

  • Victoria Azarenka’s come-back now halted indefinitely amidst start of a bitter custody battle
  • After a much anticipated come-back, Azarenka now locked in custody battle
CALIFORNIA, USA – After a long-awaited comeback to the tour, events have take a bitter turn for two-time Slam champion Victoria Azarenka.

 

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Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is set to miss the US Open as a bitter custody battle has erupted, now preventing her to take her son Leo with her to New York. Since the birth of her son, Azarenka had chartered her preparations for her come-back amidst pictures of happy family times with her son, and her come-back was often punctuated with questions asking of her experience of returning as a mum – often with sweet anecdotes in reply.

That has changed very much for the worse. Throughout Wednesday fans and pundits alike were waiting for a promised statement, before a tweet letter appeared under the title ‘A Personal Note’ – replicated here (h/t @vika7)

 

A Personal Note

My incredible fans and friends, who have supported me throughout my career deserve to know why I may not be able to compete at the U.S Open this year.

The day my son Leo was born, back in December of last year, was by far the happiest day of my life. I now have a brand new appreciation for how new mothers – and fathers – juggle the many different responsibilities for their families. However, like most working mothers, despite my unconditional love for my son, I am faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away.

In Belarus back in March, with my family in tow, I started working toward the goal of returning to the tennis tour and competing at a high level by July 31st. I was able to return early, playing in Mallorca mid-June followed by Wimbledon.

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.

Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is ok to be a working mother – or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.

I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing. No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.

I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete but, more importantly to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.

On her return she won a round in Mallorca and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon. She was entered for events in the US hard- court summer autumn swing, but withdrew from Stanford, and most recently the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Perhaps the most poignant part of her message reads: No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.

The US Open takes place between 28 August – 10 September.

Main Image: IC BOTHMA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

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