Victoria Azarenka encouraged her fans to read a message that she wrote at twitlonger.com. She said her "incredible fans and friends...deserve to know why (she) may not be able to compete at the U.S Open this year" (August 17). The situation with Azarenka is a personal, one involving her son Leo and her husband.

Azarenka in custody battle

"The only way I can play in the US Open," which is in New York, "is if I leave Leo...in California, which I’m not willing to do" Azarenka wrote. She ended her message with a note of optimism regarding resolving her personal situation and the door does in fact sound like it may be open for her US Open participation.

However the balance of the message reads as though she is preparing her fans for unfortunate news regarding her playing status in New York. Additional to all this there is a question of where Azarenka's head is right now. Certainly preparing for the US Open would be consuming and players that have personal issues are often too distracted to play their best tennis.

Azarenka has pulled out of recent events. A few weeks ago she pulled out of Stanford with an illness. A handful of days ago she pulled out of Cincinnati for personal reasons. The phrase "custody battle" has been attached to her name a lot recently, including with the The Telegraph. Charlie Eccleshare headlined an article on Thursday that read "Victoria Azarenka says she's likely to miss US Open because of custody battle with ex-boyfriend."

Can't be considered a contender

Azarenka is currently the co-third favorite to win the 2017 Us Open with sportsbook bet365.

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She is priced at +800 to win the Grand Slam, the same odds the firm affords Johanna Konta. Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova are shorter priced than Azarenka. If anything the news that prepares tennis fans for a withdrawal could only lengthen Azarenka's odds ahead of possibly being removed. With no warm-up matches and in the midst of a gargantuan distraction it's hard to picture her as more in the tournament than players like Elina Svitolina and Madison Keys, two recent title winners on the WTA Tour.

Azarenka is certainly doing the right thing is making sure her child is the No. 1 focus of her life: that she is putting her child's well being ahead of her tennis career is admirable. But for those that just want to talk about tennis, she'll be behind the women on tour that don't have such a division. She nonetheless concluded her message with optimism. "I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction," Azarenka said.