Tennis superstar Victoria Azarenka -- one of the best players in the world -- has finally broken her silence on the custody war that could force her to miss the US Open ... saying it's unfair that she has to choose between her job and her kid.
As we previously reported, Azarenka is at war with her baby daddy -- who filed custody papers in L.A. and the judge overseeing the case won't let Victoria take the kid out of the state while the trial rages.
Problem is ... the US Open starts on August 28 in NY -- but Azarenka says she REFUSES to leave her kid behind.
"Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do."
"No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both," Azarenka said.
Azarenka's attorney, Laura Wasser, recently told the judge the tennis star is more than willing to buy a plane ticket for the baby daddy and put him up in a hotel for the 2-week tournament, but the judge said no.
Still, Victoria is holding out hope that the two sides can reach an amicable resolution.
"I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete but, more importantly to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents."