Game Game

New mum Victoria Azarenka to return for Wimbledon

Victoria Azarenka in action at Wimbledon in 2015 © AFP/File / JUSTIN TALLIS

PARIS, France, May 22 – Former world number one Victoria Azarenka said Monday she will return earlier than planned to compete at Wimbledon this July, seven months after giving birth to son Leo.

“My training has been progressing well and I feel ready to start competing… plus Leo kinda said he wants to see London and Wimbledon,” the 27-year-old Belarusian wrote on Twitter.

“I will be finalising my schedule before Wimbledon in the coming days — I plan to play one of the grasscourt events prior to Wimbledon! I will keep you updated!”

Wimbledon starts on July 3 with grasscourt warm-up tournaments beforehand at Mallorca, Spain; ‘s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands and Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne in England.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, previously said she intended to return at Stanford, California at the end of July.

She launched her 2016 campaign with back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami, but missed the rest of the season after announcing she would give birth in December.

In March she said she had resumed training and had brought on Michael Joyce, longtime coach to Maria Sharapova, as her new coach.

Because of her absence Azarenka’s ranking has dropped but she is eligible for a protected ranking which covers long-term injury and maternity leave, as long as a player returns within a year of giving birth.