Former world number 1 Victoria Azarenka will be making a return to the WTA competition in Europe. This comes after a lengthy custody battle over her son, Leo, that prevented her from leaving the United States.
The 28-year-old confirmed her participation at the Madrid Open from May 5.
Azarenka announced on Twitter, “Mommy and Leo’s adventures begin. Europe here we come. First stop – see you in Madrid.”
The 2012 and 2013 Australian Open winner’s tennis career has been severely affected by the custody battle. Since July 2017, she has only participated in 2 tournaments, this was mostly because her son should not leave the state until custody was resolved.
The Belarussian put her career on hold and dropped to world number 99. She did so to avoid harming her chances of winning the courtroom battle with her former partner. She has only played in Indian Wells, where she lost in the second round, and a semifinal run in Miami.
Her last European appearance was at the 2017 Wimbledon tournament. She was bidding to become the first mother in 37 years to win the grasscourt Grand Slam. Unfortunately, Simona Halep halted her run in the last 16.
When the court ruled that Leo must be kept within the state of California, Azarenka was forced to pull out of the US Open.
In August 2017, she explained on social media: “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.
“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.”