Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to her ongoing family matter. The former two-time champion in Melbourne was given a wildcard last month by Tournament Director Craig Tiley as he said they would do anything to help the Belarusian to compete in the first major of the year.
The Belarusian last competed in Melbourne during the 2016 Australian Open. Azarenka was one of the favorites to win the tournament coming in and was defeated in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Angelique Kerber. She won the title in 2012 and 2013 which are her only two major titles to her name.
Azarenka's ongoing family matter involves her son Leo, whom she gave birth to in December 2016. She is in an ongoing custody battle involving him.
The former world number one was set for a full summer in the Asia-Pacific before the withdrawals. She was scheduled to play in the ASB Classic in Auckland before heading to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open.
After learning that the former world number one could not participate, Tiley spoke about his disappointment in Azarenka being unable to play. He said, "It is unfortunate that [Azarenka] is unable to travel to Australia this year. The Australian Open is her favourite tournament and she's looking forward to returning to Melbourne next year."
Azarenka's wildcard will now go to Alja Tomljanovic. Tomljanovic is a Croatian-Australian who represents Australia in Grand Slams and Croatia in tour-level events. The world 108 will continue to represent Croatia in tour-level events until she receives her Australian passport. She reached a career-high of 47 back in 2015. Her ranking, which is outside the top-100, is due to coming back from shoulder surgery to play late last year.