Victoria Azarenka Pulls Out of U.S. Open Over Custody Dispute

Victoria Azarenka, a two-time finalist at the United States Open, withdrew from this year’s tournament Monday because of a custody dispute over her infant son, Leo.

“I am sadly unable to compete in this year’s U.S. Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through,” Azarenka said in a statement issued by the tournament. “While I will dearly miss being in New York and playing in one of my favorite tournaments where I have enjoyed some of the best moments in my career, I am already looking forward to being back next year.”

Azarenka, runner-up to Serena Williams in the 2012 and 2013 Opens, missed last year’s tournament because of her pregnancy. She gave birth to her son in December and returned to the tour in June, at a grass-court tournament in Mallorca. After losing in the second round there, she showed improvement at Wimbledon two weeks later, reaching the fourth round before losing to second-seeded Simona Halep.

Azarenka split with her son’s father, Billy McKeague, shortly after Wimbledon, and a custody battle followed. While the case is unresolved, the court would have placed restrictions on either parent’s leaving California with the child. Azarenka has withdrawn from two other tournaments, in Stanford, Calif., and Mason, Ohio.

Amir Aharonov, a partner at Tinero, Aharonov and Associates in Los Angeles, who specializes in California family law but is not involved in Azarenka’s case, said: “It’s an automatic temporary restraining order that occurs with the issuance of an action relating to parentage. It’s common, and what it says is, ‘Starting immediately, you and every other party to the action are restrained from removing from the state, or applying for a passport for, the minor child or children for whom this action seeks to establish a parent-child relationship or a custody order without the prior written consent of every other party or an order of the court.’”