Former world no.1 Victoria Azarenka’s hopes of contesting next month’s Australian Open continue to hang in the balance.
The two-time Australian Open champion has been granted a wildcard by organisers but she might not be able to use it as a continuing legal battle between she and her former partner over the custody of their infant son, Leo has effectively stalled her career.
Ominously, the Belarusian has already scuttled plans to resume at the ASB Classic in Auckland next week. Azarenka’s decision to abandon the New Zealand pipe-opener doesn’t bode well for the January 15-28 Australian Open.
The baseliner told Kiwi organisers she will be unable to play in Auckland for “personal reasons.”
Azarenka has not played since Wimbledon in July because she cannot leave California with her son until a dispute with her former partner ends.
Sympathetic to Azarenka’s cause, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley allocated a wildcard to the 28-year-old.
Currently ranked outside the top 200 – and otherwise condemned to qualifying – Azarenka had hoped to join fellow mother Serena Williams Down Under.
If Azarenka is unable to resolve the situation quickly, it is increasingly likely she will surrender the wildcard. If so, TA would probably consider the claims of a young Australian player.
As it stands, only one more discretionary wildcard is on offer after the various play-offs. There are two men’s wildcards left.