Two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka had a take your child to work day at the Melbourne tournament on Friday – and it was “awesome.”
Following her third-round 6-0 6-2 victory over No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina, Azarenka brought her son Leo to the post-match media conference.
Mom and son were wearing sunglasses and Leo was asked how Azarenka had played.
Leo’s response was pithy and to the point: “Awesome.”
Azarenka responded: “Thank you for that,” before bursting out laughing along with the gathered reporters.
The 32-year-old Azarenka became the first player to reach the round of 16 at this year’s edition of the Australian Open after comfortably beating Svitolina.
The Belarussian is aiming for her third title in Melbourne, after winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Despite not having reached the fourth round at the grand slam since 2016, Azarenka showed no signs of nerves, winning without too many issues in just over an hour.
Azarenka was asked whether Leo being at the grand slam in Melbourrne had been a distraction or had helped her to relax. “All of the above,” the tennis star jokingly replied.
“It’s definitely not a distraction, I will never say that. Being a parent is not easy,” she explained. “He’s full of personality. I don’t know where he gets it from obviously.
“But I always feel privileged that I’m able to have him here. These kind of moments are really priceless for me. To be able for me to share that with my son is pretty incredible.”
Months after giving birth to Leo in 2016, Azarenka and Leo’s father separated. Azarenka missed the US Open the following year because of legal issues involving the father.
In an Instagram post at the time, Azarenka revealed they were working to “resolve some of the legal processes” and said she was “not willing” to leave her son behind in California to travel to New York.
“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace,” she said.
“I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is OK to be a working mother – or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.”
Azarenka will now play French Open champion and fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in the next round.