Victoria Azarenka wants to break down stereotypes as she mixes motherhood with tennis
Azarenka on her son, Leo: 'I thought that everything was going to be a little bit of a fairy-tale and it's not, but it's definitely the best thing that has happened to me'
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 16/02/19 3:02pm
Mum's the word for former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka as she attempts to break down stereotypes of being a full-time mother and playing professional tennis.
Azarenka recently returned to the Belarus Fed Cup team after a hiatus during which she has been locked in a custody battle with the father to her two-year-old son Leo.
The 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion has struggled with her form since returning to the tour but has already reached the mixed-doubles final at Wimbledon with Britain's Jamie Murray before going out in the fourth round of the singles at the US Open.
She gave an emotional press conference in the aftermath of her first-round exit in Melbourne this year where she opened up on her recent struggles on and off the court.
But speaking before Belarus' 4-0 Fed Cup success in Germany, in which the 29-year-old from Minsk helped secure a whitewash to set up a semi-final date with Australia, she admitted motherhood has not been quite the "fairy-tale" she thought it would be but is trying to be a good example to fellow professional working mums.
"For me it's not been easy. I thought that everything was going to be a little bit of a fairy-tale and it's not, but it's definitely for me the best thing that has happened to me," Azarenka told the official Fed Cup website.
"I enjoy the challenge of it, it's scary sometimes because you have full responsibility of another human while you try to do your job. It's something that I am passionate about, so even though it's not easy I'm trying to find the balance and hopefully be a good example.
"I feel that the stereotype has been broken. You can come back and still play at a high level and I hope this is something after me that this legacy is going to continue.
"I would love for Leo to play a lot of sports, to learn different skills, and I think this way you can really find your passion when you try different things. My goal as a mum is to give him the opportunity to explore and for him to choose after for himself."
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