Victoria Azarenka has pulled out of the US Open as a result of a dispute with her former partner over the care of their baby son.
Azarenka, who is a former world No 1, returned to tennis in June, six months after giving birth to Leo, and she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
However, she has not played since Wimbledon and blamed a viral illness for pulling out of a tournament in Stanford. She later revealed that she is in a custody battle with Leo’s father Billy McKeague.
Earlier this week Azarenka released a statement in which she said that she is “sadly unable to compete in this year’s US Open” due to an “ongoing family situation” that she is currently working on.
In the statement she said that she will “dearly miss” playing in New York and described the tournament as one of her favourites. However, she said that he fully intends to take part next year.
It was only last week that the 28-year-old Belarusian broke her silence on the issue and said that she would only have been able to take part in Flushing Meadows if she had left her son at home in California, something she wasn’t prepared to do.
She had hoped to reach an agreement with McKeague, from whom she separated last month, which would have allowed Leo to accompany her to New York. However, she has now withdrawn from the tournament and the organisers have confirmed that Japan’s Misa Eguchi has taken her place in the main draw.
The US Open qualifiers began yesterday and the tournament proper will begin next week on Monday and will take place over two weeks with the final on Sunday 10th September.