Victoria Azarenka will make her return to Grand Slam action at the start of 2018, having been handed a wildcard for the Australian Open.
The Belarusian – a two-time champion in Melbourne – returned to the WTA Tour in the grass-court season after a spell away from the sport in order to give birth to her son Leo but was forced to skip the US Open due to an ongoing custody battle.
Azarenka has not taken to court since crashing out to Simona Halep in the fourth round at the All England Club and she ended her season early soon after withdrawing from the final Grand Slam of the year in New York.
But the former world No. 1 – who is currently placed at 210 in the WTA rankings – will now return to action after a difficult few months.
‘Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer her any support we can,’ Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
‘As a two-time Australian Open champion, we’ve awarded her a wildcard and look forward to seeing her back on court in Melbourne in January.
Azarenka added: ‘I’m so excited about coming back to Melbourne for the Australian Open, it’s my favourite tournament.
‘I’ve won there twice and always feel so comfortable on court and the city is great.
‘It’s been a tough year and being able to come back to the AO will be a really positive way to start 2018.’
Azarenka has also been handed a wildcard for the ASB Classic in New Zealand in order to warm up for the Australian Open.
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