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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Wimbledon 2017: Victoria Azarenka calls for more facilities for WTA's mums

Belarusian, who hopes to become first mother to lift Wimbledon women's singles trophy since Evonne Goolagong in 1980, reached third round of grass-court major.

Victoria Azarenka beat Russia’s Elena Vesnina, who has been a semi-finalist at Wimbledon. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Victoria Azarenka beat Russia’s Elena Vesnina, who has been a semi-finalist at Wimbledon. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

New mum Victoria Azarenka wants to see more child-friendly tournaments on the WTA Tour, saying not enough is done to help players travelling with young families.

The former world No 1 returned to action last month after giving birth to son Leo in December and will soon be joined on the Tour by mum-to-be Serena Williams.

"I hope that's the case. I have been already talking about this point to some of the people in the WTA," Azarenka said after reaching the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday with a straight sets defeat of 15th seed Elena Vesnina.

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

"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. For women, it's much more important and harder," added the Belarusian, who faces Britain's Heather Watson next.

Creches are not mandatory facilities on the WTA Tour, although all the grand slam events cater for players travelling with young children and Wimbledon's was upgraded in 2015.

Judy Murray, mother of world No 1 Andy, has also thrown her support behind better child facilities.

"It's not every player that has the money to employ an entourage of nannies. The top ones can, but not the next level, so it's very important," she said.

Azarenka says life back in tennis is completely different following the birth of her son, yet she is still enjoying the familiar feeling of winning.

"I get a different vibe when I come back, with my kid on the tour. I feel like I have so much more support from the outside, which is a great feeling, definitely," she said.

"Travelling is a little stressful for me, travelling with a baby. I want to make sure that everything is okay.

"But overall, it's just great. It's really fun that I'm able to go home and spend time with my son."

Azarenka will face an in-form Watson, who sent 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova packing in a 6-0, 6-4 win.