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Australian Open

Former champion Victoria Azarenka becomes the latest big name to withdraw from the Australian Open

Australian Open organisers announce withdrawal in a social media post on Monday, a week before the tournament begins

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 January, 2018, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 January, 2018, 12:33pm

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Australian Open, with her wild card entry to the season’s first major reallocated to Ajla Tomljanovic.

Australian Open organisers announced Azarenka’s withdrawal in a social media post on Monday, a week before the tournament begins.

“It’s unfortunate that (Azarenka) is unable to travel to Australia this year,” organisers posted on Twitter, quoting tournament director Craig Tiley. The Australian Open, “is her favourite tournament and she’s looking forward to returning to Melbourne next year.”

Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last December.

She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10.

Azarenka played only six matches in 2017 and her year-ending ranking plummeted to No. 208.

Australian Open organisers last month granted her a wild-card entry, with Tiley saying at the time “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”

I need more time: Australian Open loses another major star as Serena Williams withdraws

The Australian Open starts next Monday at Melbourne Park. Defending champion Serena Williams has already withdrawn, saying her game wasn’t back to a level where she believed she could contend for the title just four months after giving birth to her first child.

Former world number one Andy Murray also withdrew last week.