Tennis: Victoria Azarenka ready for 'new part of career' after childbirth hiatus

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus cekebrates with the Butch Buchholz Trophy after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during the women's final on Day 13 of the Miami Open on April 2, 2016 in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus cekebrates with the Butch Buchholz Trophy after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during the women's final on Day 13 of the Miami Open on April 2, 2016 in Key Biscayne, Florida.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Paris (AFP) - Former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam title winner Victoria Azarenka returns to tennis after a year's absence this week, claiming "I'm ready for a new part of my career".

The 27-year-old Azarenka hasn't played since the 2016 French Open, taking time out to give birth to her first child Leo.

"My life has taken a 180-degree turn but I have not lost my competitive spirit," the Belarusian told reporters at the Mallorca Open on Sunday.

"Here begins a new part of my career." Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, gave birth to Leo in December last year.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Her absence from the WTA Tour means she is without a world ranking and required a wild card to get into the Mallorca event which starts on Monday.

She faces Risa Ozaki of Japan in the first round of the grass-court tournament which will be Azarenka's only competitive event before Wimbledon gets underway on July 3.