WTA Stanford: Victoria Azarenka set to return at the Bank of the West Classic

WTA Stanford: Victoria Azarenka set to return at the Bank of the West Classic

The former world number one, who has been out for ten months after falling pregnant, is one of the first players confirmed for the tournament, alongside Madison Keys

oliver-dickson-jefford
Oliver Dickson Jefford

Former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka will return to the WTA Tour at the Bank of the West Classic, a hard court tournament, this July following her absence from the tour due to her pregnancy,

Azarenka, who gave birth to her son, Leo, shortly before Christmas last year, last played at the French Open, where she retired in the first round against Karin Knapp, has always maintained that she would return to the tour following her pregnancy, and will be hoping to emulate the likes of Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Kim Clijsters, who both won Grand Slam titles after becoming mothers.

World number 11 Madison Keys will also be in action.

Azarenka returns on her strongest surface

Despite some rumors suggest that she could return in time for Wimbledon, Azarenka will be making her return to the tour on by far her preferred surface as she looks to quickly regain top form after what will be over a year out.

Victoria Azarenka with the title in Cincinatti after beating Serena Williams in the final in 2013 (Getty/Matthew Stockman)
Victoria Azarenka with the title in Cincinatti after beating Serena Williams in the final in 2013 (Getty/Matthew Stockman)

The former world number one will certainly not be taken lightly despite her absence, having won title in Brisbane, Indian Wells and Miami in her beginning-of-season resurgence last year. Azarenka has also had success in the the US summer hard court season before, with two final appearances at the US Open and a title in Cincinnati.

Azarenka will be making her debut in Stanford, and will likely appear at many of the other notable tournaments over the summer; as a Grand Slam champion, she has unlimited use of Wildcards.

Keys looking to build up form

Alongside the Belorussian, Keys is the only other player who has so far confirmed that they will be in action.

Madison Keys in action at the Miami Open (Getty/Matthew Stockman)
Madison Keys in action at the Miami Open (Getty/Matthew Stockman)

The American has had a difficult season so far, missing the early stages of the season due to injury, and losing early in Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston, though reunited with Lindsay Davenport over the off season; she had an extremely successful with the three-time Grand Slam champion in the past.

Keys will be looking to improve on her performance when she last played in Stanford two years; she lost her opening match to Ajia Tomljanovic in three sets.

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