Victoria Azarenka

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Victoria Azarenka may miss U.S. Open due to custody battle

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Olympic and Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the U.S. Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father.

Azarenka is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away,” according to a post on the former top-ranked player’s social media accounts Thursday. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”

The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June.

Azarenka’s post said that shortly after Wimbledon — where Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10 — she separated from her son’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 U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media, “which I’m not willing to do.”

The U.S. Open starts Aug. 28.

“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,” was posted, “but, more importantly, to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.”

Azarenka was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams.

Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.

Wimbledon was Azarenka’s first major tournament in more than a year. She currently is ranked 204th.

“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. 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,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media. “I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.”

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MORE: Past two men’s champions out of U.S. Open

Victoria Azarenka is pregnant, will miss Rio Games

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Victoria Azarenka, women’s singles bronze medalist at the 2012 London Games, will miss the Rio Olympics after revealing Friday that she is pregnant with her first child.

The former world No. 1 from Belarus sits at No. 6 in the world rankings, and her withdrawal leaves only Serena and Venus Williams as women in the Rio field who have previously earned Olympic singles medals. Serena won the 2012 gold medal after defeating Maria Sharapova, who is currently banned from the sport.

“While recovering from the knee injury that I sustained at Roland Garros, I received news from my doctor that my boyfriend and I are going to become parents at the end of this year,” Azarenka wrote in a message on Twitter. “We couldn’t be happier and feel very blessed to begin this exciting journey of building a family together.”

Azarenka hurt her knee during the first round of the French Open, and withdrew from Wimbledon because of it. She hasn’t played since, and won’t for the rest of 2016. But she does plan to continue competing as a mother.

As the top seed four years ago in London, Azarenka won the bronze medal after losing to Serena Williams in the semifinals and defeating Russia’s Maria Kirilenko in straight sets in the third-place match. At the 2008 Beijing Games, Azarenka fell to Venus Williams in the third round.

In mixed doubles, which was competed in London for the first time since the 1924 Games, Azarenka and Max Mirnyi won gold, defeating Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Laura Robson.

MORE: U.S. Olympic tennis team official; 546th-ranked singles player goes to Rio