ZIMBABWE’S number one female tennis player Cara Black will team up with Lisa Raymond of the United States for the women’s doubles competition at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships set for June 29 to July 12 at the All England Club in London.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The former world number one women’s doubles player confirmed her new partnership with Raymond after ending her short-lived combination with China’s Saisai Zheng at the start of
Black made a welcome return to the professional circuit two weeks ago in England after being inactive since reaching the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open in January.
The 36-year-old doubles tennis specialist partnered with 41-year-old Raymond in the Aegon Open in Nottingham.
Playing in their first competitive tournament together, the pair fared well, winning two matches before a 2-6, 4-6 loss in the quarter-finals to Xu Yi-Fan from China and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Chin-Wei.
Encouraged by their display in Nottingham, Black and Raymond continued their grass court preparations at the $50 000 Aegon Ilkley Trophy in West Yorkshire.
After notching up two straight wins without dropping a set, the duo had to be stopped in the semi-finals by the eventual champions Olaru Raluca from Romania and Yi-Fan after a 6-4 3-6 [6-10] loss in the semi-finals.
Black and her playing partner are expected to conclude their Wimbledon preparations this week at Aegon Eastbourne International in Sussex.
They were scheduled to play against Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki and Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the opening round late last night.
Black had initially planned to retire from the sport after the Australian Open in January, but looks to have had a change of heart as she seeks to add more silverware to her already impressive career haul of 71 women’s doubles titles and well over $7 million in prize money.
The Harare-born tennis ace, who has won a total of 10 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles combined, will be confident of doing well at Wimbledon as she boasts of an impressive record at the All England Club.
Black won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title three times in 2004, 2005, and 2007 and the mixed doubles twice in 2004 and 2010.
Last year, Black and her then playing partner Sania Mirza from India lost in the second round of the Wimbledon women’s doubles competition.