Victoria Azarenka withdraws from Aussie Open amid custody dispute


"The #AusOpen is her favourite tournament and she's looking forward to returning to Melbourne next year".

The Australian Open starts next Monday at Melbourne Park. He had left knee surgery in August, which forced him to miss the US Open, at which he was the defending champion. It's not always the best when you are an athlete so I'm looking forward to it, enjoying the crowd.

Australian Open organisers last month granted her a wildcard entry, with Tiley saying at the time, "Vika's current situation is obviously very hard for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can".

It was the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three primary courts, the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena equipped with retractable roofs.

Williams was pregnant when she won at Melbourne Park a year ago, her Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam singles title. She reached a career-high of 47 back in 2015.

It is another blow to a tournament, which has already lost Andy Murray and can't be sure whether Novak Djokovic or Stan Wawrinka will be fit to compete. The decider was between her and her sister Venus William and it was a memorable match.

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It is less than four months since Williams gave birth.

The 36 year old player said in a statement that after she competed in Abu Dhabi, she realized that even when she was really close, but she wasn't where she personally wanted to be.

"I'm very happy to be back in Australia", he said.

"It's unfortunate that (Azarenka) is unable to travel to Australia this year", organisers posted on Twitter, quoting tournament director Craig Tiley.

"I've been in constant with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the 11th hour to make her final decision", he said. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep and No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki are bidding to win their first Grand Slam singles titles. Her ranking, which is outside the top-100, is due to coming back from shoulder surgery to play late past year.