Wimbledon 2017

Tennis: Azarenka pushes for better childcare service

Victoria Azarenka during her 6-3, 6-3 win against Elena Vesnina yesterday. The former world No. 1 wants the WTA to provide tournament-based help for women players with children.
Victoria Azarenka during her 6-3, 6-3 win against Elena Vesnina yesterday. The former world No. 1 wants the WTA to provide tournament-based help for women players with children.PHOTO: REUTERS

Azarenka seeks more support from WTA in providing on-site care facilities for children

LONDON • Victoria Azarenka has called on Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chiefs to provide more support for players who return to the Tour after having children.

The Belarusian stepped up her bid to become the first mother to win Wimbledon in 37 years when she defeated Russian 15th seed Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 in the second round yesterday.

In her first Grand Slam since taking a year off to have her first child in December, the 27-year-old hopes to become the first mother to lift the Wimbledon singles trophy since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

The former world No. 1 has brought her son Leo to the tournament and has her partner and mother around to help.

But she believes it is time the women's Tour provided more on-site facilities for players with children, pointing out that the ATP has nurseries at their tournaments for dads who bring along their kids.

"Yeah, I hope that's the case. I have been already talking about this point to some of the people in WTA," Azarenka said.

"I'll do anything to make that happen, because I think it's really important.

  • SELECTED RESULTS

  • Men's 2nd rd: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Simone Bolelli (Ita) 6-1 7-5 6-2, Sam Querrey (USA) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (Geo) 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-3, Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 7-6(8-6).

  • Women's 2nd rd: Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) bt Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-4 6-4, Maria Sakkari (Gre) bt Kristyna Pliskova (Cze) 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4, Heather Watson (Gbr) bt Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) 6-0 6-4.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"The guys do have that luxury of having the nurseries and stuff at every event and I think it's time for women to have the same benefit.

"I think for women it is much more important and harder."

But, asked if she was inspired by Roger Federer's success as a father on the circuit, Azarenka made it clear it is women who put in the hardest work.

"Roger definitely has not inspired me. No disrespect to him, and I think it's amazing, you know, but it's a little different for him," she said with a grin.

Later in the day, an invasion of flying ants left Jo-Wilfried Tsonga flustered during his 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 second-round victory over Italian Simone Bolelli.

Several other players were also seen swatting away the ants, but French 12th seed Tsonga encountered one flying up his nose and another into his ear.

"That was strange. I had a few experiences in the United States. With the light at night sometimes you have big bugs. Or in Australia also you have these kind of things," he said. "But this was a little bit different, because these ones (were) very small but a lot... it was in my nose and in my ear."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2017, with the headline 'Childcare service urged'. Print Edition | Subscribe