Report: Azarenka Could Miss US Open Due to Custody Battle Over Son

According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot (translated as YNET News in English), Victoria Azarenka has enlisted the services of an Israeli family court lawyer in the custody battle over her seven-month-old son, Leo.

According to the report, Azarenka and boyfriend Billy McKeague, Leo’s father, split in July but have kept their separation quiet from the media so far. The report claims that Azarenka currently is not allowed to sleep with her son and that he is being kept in Los Angeles while the custody issue is resolved.

Azarenka missed over a year of play due to her pregnancy and recovery, as her last match played was at the French Open. She was originally slated to return at Stanford this year, but she pushed up her return a bit in order to be ready and try to play at Wimbledon.

The former World #1 and two-time Australian Open champion returned to play at Mallorca this year, where she won one match before being defeated by Ana Konjuh. She then competed at Wimbledon, where she struggled in some matches and showed clear rust, but eventually reached the fourth round before being defeated by World #2 Simona Halep.

Azarenka’s fans were confused when she declined to participate in this week’s Rogers Cup, either by use of a protected ranking or via a Wild Card. She has received a Wild Card for next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and has not officially withdrawn from the tournament yet (that I can find, at least), though the Israeli report indicates that she has.

Lastly, the report claims that a Belorussian court will be hearing the case in September, and that Azarenka could miss the US Open due to the case. If she does, the report claims that Azarenka will sue for damages upwards of $10 Million due to the loss of ability to compete in tournaments and win prize money and prestige.

There has been no real coverage or corroboration of this report from the English-speaking press yet, so we will have to see if or where it can be confirmed. With the US Open only a short three weeks away, though, and with the report’s claims that the custody fight will be heard in court in September, we should know the truth for sure soon enough.