FAMILY FIRST: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus has pulled out of the US Open.
FAMILY FIRST: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus has pulled out of the US Open. Alastair Grant

Battle over young son forces Azarenka out of US Open

A CUSTODY battle over her young son has forced former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka out of the US Open, which starts in New York next week.

The 28-year-old Belarusian had Leo last December and returned to tennis in June.

Due to the custody battle, Azarenka is unwilling to leave her son behind in California, where she has a home and where her child was born.

"I am sadly unable to compete in this year's US Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through," Azarenka, a finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2012 and 2013, said.

"While I will dearly miss being in New York and playing in one of my favourite tournaments where I have enjoyed some of the best moments in my career, I am already looking forward to being back next year."

In an open letter posted on social media last week, Azarenka said no one should ever have to decide between a child and their career.

She also said the only way she could play in New York was if she left her child behind in California, which she was unwilling to do.

Since returning to action, Azarenka has reached the last 16 at the Mallorca Open in June and Wimbledon.

Her withdrawal has opened up a place for Japan's Misa Eguchi in the main draw at the year's final grand slam.

News Corp Australia

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