Australian Open: Former champion Victoria Azarenka awarded wildcard

Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka lost in straight sets to Simona Halep in the fourth round of Wimbledon in her last appearance on tour

Former world number one and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has been given an Australian Open wildcard.

The 28-year-old pulled out of the US Open and Belarus' Fed Cup final earlier this year because of a custody dispute over her young son.

"Vika's current situation is obviously very difficult for her. We have reached out to offer any support we can," said tournament director Craig Tiley.

Azarenka is ranked 201 in the world and has not played since Wimbledon.

The champion in 2012 and 2013 at Melbourne Park, Azarenka has claimed that a judge in California has not allowed her to travel outside of California with 11-month old Leo while a legal case is ongoing.

"I'm so excited about coming back to Melbourne for the Australian Open, it's my favourite tournament," Azarenka said.

"I've won there twice and always feel so comfortable on court and the city is great."

Azarenka has already received a wildcard to the WTA event in Auckland where she will begin her 2018 season.

The Australian Open begins on 15 January.

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