Cara Black skips French Open

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ZIMBABWE tennis queen Cara Black will miss this year’s French Open at Roland Garros, but is expected to return ahead of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, NewsDay Sport has learnt.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The 36-year-old doubles specialist has not played since reaching the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open in January.

Cara had, however, been expected to return for the French Open which starts on May 24, but her brother Wayne told NewsDay Sport the the former world number one in women’s doubles will now delay her return until the grass-court season begins.

“She’s not playing French Open this year, but will return for Wimbledon and the tournaments leading up to the tournament,” Wayne NewsDay Sport yesterday.

“They are planning to have a second baby and that’s why she has decided to cut down on the number of tournaments she competes in each year, but she’s definitely competing at Wimbledon,” said Wayne.

Cara had initially said she would retire from the sport after the Australian Open, saying it would have sentimental value since it is the home country of her husband Brett Stephens, father of her two-year-old son Lachlan.

Her retirement would have marked the end of Zimbabwe’s representation at the pinnacle of professional tennis in both the men’s and women’s circuits, following the departure of her siblings Byron, Wayne and doubles specialist Kevin Ullyett.

But it now seems the country’s most successful tennis player has had a change of heart and in fact has her sights on another Grand Slam to add to her impressive career haul of 71 women’s doubles titles and $7 687 467 prize money.

Black, who has won a total of 10 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles combined, boasts of an impressive record at Wimbledon.

The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club has proved to be a successful hunting ground for Cara over the years where she won the women’s doubles title three times in 2004, 2005, and 2007 and the mixed doubles twice in 2004 and 2010.

Meanwhile, Wayne has ruled out another comeback to the Davis Cup team ahead of the Euro/Africa Group II playoff against Moldovia in July.

The tennis star played the doubles rubber in Zimbabwe’s 1-4 loss to Bosnia-Herzegovina in March, but yesterday said his involvement in the upcoming tie would now be limited to the technical aspect of the game.