MASON, Ohio - A nasty custody battle over her 8-month-old son forced former Western & Southern Open tennis champion Victoria Azarenka to drop out of this month's tournament, according to media reports.
After the 2013 W&S Open champ spilt up with the boy's father last month, the father filed custody papers in Los Angeles and the judge won't allow Azarenka to take the child out of California until the matter is settled, according to TMZ.
Azarenka, 28, a native of Belarus, doesn't trust the father and won't leave the boy with him, so she will probably have to drop out of the U.S. Open, too, TMZ reported.
Azarenka told the judge she would pay the father's expenses to travel to tournaments if she could take her son, but the judge said no. Azarenka also told the judge she has a valid custody order from Belarus, but the judge won't defer to the Belarus court.
“I am disappointed to have to pull out of the Western and Southern Open due to a family matter,” Azarenka said in a statement released by the tournament. She defeated Serena Williams in the 2013 final. “I look forward to coming back to Cincinnati and playing in front of its great fans for many years to come.”
After a layoff for her son's birth, Azarenka reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon last month before losing to second-ranked Simona Halep.