ZIMBABWE doubles tennis specialist Cara Black has stepped up her preparations for the new season with a training camp at her playing partner Sania Mirza’s tennis academy in Hyderabad, India.
DANIEL NHAKANISO,SPORTS REPORTER
The 34-year-old ten-time Grand Slam winner and her partner, who finished last season on a high with back-to-back titles in China and Japan, are expected to return to competitive action at the end of the month.
Black arrived in Hyderabad on Sunday morning and drove straight from the airport to the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy (SMTA) for a two-hour practice session.
In an interview with The Hindu the former world number one doubles player said she was delighted to be in India and was impressed with the facilities at the academy.
“I think not many doubles combinations can get to train for two weeks before a Grand Slam. We are lucky to train here and I am amazed with the facilities at SMTA.
Although it is just taking its final shape now, Sania’s academy is already a big hit and the courts are great to play on,” she said.
Black, who will be in the running for Sportsperson of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year awards after a great comeback season said the pair, would be aiming to win a grand slam next season.
“There is no better feeling than winning a Grand Slam and I am very keen to partner Sania to another Slam triumph in next month’s Australian Open.”
Black, who will train with her partner for two weeks at the academy, was full of praises for Mirza and adding that the training camp would give them a chance to work on their game before heading for Australia.
“Sania is an unbelievable player and strikes the ball harder than any girl on the circuit. I know of players around the world who are scared of facing her, especially in doubles,” said Black.
“The focus will be on improving. We are going to work on a lot of aspects before we move to Australia. In fact, I will be playing with her for the whole of next year — including all four Grand Slams — and we are aware of expectations after having won two WTA events together,” the Zimbabwean star explained.
The pair is expected to kick start the new season at the Brisbane International which takes place from December 29 to January 4 before the start of the first Grand Slan of the year, the Australian Open from January 13 – 25.