Azarenka confirms she has to keep her son in California during custody hearings, which could prevent her from playing the US Open.
Victoria Azarenka has released a statement on her ongoing custody battle with her child's father, which could cause her to miss the upcoming U.S. Open.
"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 U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do," Azarenka wrote in a "personal note" on Twitter on Thursday.
After Azarenka and Billy McKeague split up in July, McKeague filed for custody for their eight-month old son, Leo, in California, according to a TMZ Sports report. Until the dispute is settled, the child cannot leave the state. Azarenka reportedly has a valid custody order from Belarus, but the judge won't defer to the Belarus court.
"Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace," Azarenka wrote. "No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both."
The World No. 203 pulled out of the Cincinnati Open citing a "family matter" and says that she is optimistic that she and McKeague can "put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction" to agree on an arrangement for the three to travel to New York, so that she can compete in the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 28.
Azarenka has won two Australian Open titles and became World No. 1 in 2012. She is currently ranked No. 203, though she only returned to tennis in June after taking extensive time off to give birth to her son.