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Azarenka forced to skip Aussie Open

The Associated Press

Victoria Azarenka wraps an ice towel around her neck during a break during her quarterfinal match against Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open on Jan. 27, 2016.

The Associated PressMELBOURNE (AP) — Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Australian Open, with her wild-card entry reallocated to Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.

Open organizers announced Azarenka’s withdrawal in a social media post on Monday, a week before the tournament begins.

“It’s unfortunate that [Azarenka] is unable to travel to Australia,” organizers posted on Twitter, quoting tournament director Craig Tiley. The Australian Open, “is her favorite tournament and she’s looking forward to returning to Melbourne next year.”

Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born in 2016.

She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost in the fourth round on July 10.

Former No. 1-ranked Azarenka played only six matches in 2017, and her year-ending ranking plummeted to No. 208.

Australian Open organizers last month granted her a wild card, with Tiley saying at the time: “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”

Murray officially out

Andy Murray underwent surgery on his right hip on Monday and said he hopes to be back playing in time for Wimbledon.

The former No. 1-ranked Murray, a three-time major winner, has not played a competitive match since a quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon last July. His current ranking is No. 19.

Murray has been told to expect a 14-week recovery period and he is targeting a return to the court by June.

“I underwent successful right hip surgery at the St. Vincent Hospital in Melbourne,” Murray wrote on his Facebook page. “I’d like to thank Dr. John O’Donnell and all of the staff for looking after me. I look forward to returning to competitive tennis during the grass court season. Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support over the last few days. I’ll comeback from this.”

The 30-year-old Murray, though, accepts he will have to reduce his workload on court.

“I’m certainly not going to be putting in the same amount of tournaments and effort to try to get to No. 1,” Murray told British media. “I’ll certainly be more considered in the amount of tournaments I play, even though I play a conservative schedule anyway in comparison to most of the players on the tour.”Speech

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