Victoria Azarenka Talks 'Difficult Decision' Amid Potential of Skipping US Open

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

Belarus's Victoria Azarenka serves against Britain's Heather Watson during their women's singles third round match on the fifth day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Tennis star Victoria Azarenka wrote Thursday that she may not be able to participate in the U.S. Open due to not wanting to leave her son behind in California following her separation with the child's father.

"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."

She added:

"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."

Azarenka, who was a U.S. Open finalist and Australian Open winner in both 2012 and 2013, has had her struggles in the past four seasons. She failed to win a single title in either 2014 or 2015 before going 26-3 in 2016 with three singles titles. 

She has played in just two tournaments since the 2016 French Open, however, and the former World No. 1 is now No. 204 in the rankings. She gave birth to her son, Leo, in Dec. 2016 and returned to action at the Mallorca Open in June.

She separated from her husband in July following her Round of 16 exit at Wimbledon against Simona Halep.

"Balancing childcare and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace," she noted. "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."