Huber & Raymond On Longevity & Goals
Published February 15, 2012 12:00
DOHA, Qatar - As Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond come to Doha fresh off their first title of the season in Paris and as the No.1-ranked doubles team in the world, it's important to note that one year ago they had never even played a match together - not a single one. How did they make this happen so fast?
"Once Liezel and I came together last April, it was only a matter of time before we were able to establish ourselves as one of the best doubles teams in the world, and hopefully the best doubles team in the world," Raymond said. "We're pretty much at the same point in our careers. We're both veterans, we have the same goals and we both want to win every time we walk onto the court."
"We're very competitive, but we take it day by day," Huber commented. "If you don't start well - in a match or even just on a day - you just work through it, you find a way. We just take everything step by step and try not to look too far ahead. We try to learn from our experiences and keep learning, too."
The American pair, who first joined together at Charleston last April and have collected five WTA titles in all - Toronto, the US Open, Tokyo and the WTA Championships last year, and now Paris this year - are also two of the fittest doubles players out there, as exemplified by their marathon win in last year's US Open final, where they came back from 64 53 down to take the title.
"The older you get the fitter you have to be," Raymond said. "Knock on wood you have to be injury free. I've been very lucky with injuries in my career."
Paris was actually Raymond's 75th career WTA doubles title (she is No.7 on the Open Era leaderboard); it was Huber's 49th (she is No.15 on the list).
"That's a nice number!" Huber said of Raymond's haul of 75.
"I have better perspective on my career now," Raymond said. "Ten years ago did I think I'd be sitting here at my age with 75 titles? I'd probably say no. But the older you get, the more all of these achievements mean to you."
They have both achieved just about everything there is in the doubles arena - loads of titles, multiple Slams, No.1... so what keeps them going?
"It's not why we originally got together and it wasn't the carrot at the end of the stick by any means, but the Olympics is a huge thing for us right now," Huber said. "I hope we win a medal this year. Neither of us has won one before."
"Our goal is to win every match we play, but the Olympics is a huge goal," Raymond added. "There's nothing we haven't achieved except winning a medal."
"Also for us as a team, our goal is to reach No.1 together, and that we are going to do," Huber continued. "That's our first goal right now!"
Raymond was also asked if she was looking towards the next titles milestone, which would be 100. "I'm focused on No.76 right now, that's all!" she said.
Raymond has a few years on Huber - she is 38, Huber 35 - and when asked how long they would keep playing, there didn't seem to be any consensus.
"I know I won't be playing as long as Lisa," Huber said.
"That's what she says now..." Raymond said.
"Having said that, if Lisa's my partner and I'll never play as long as Lisa, I'll never reach as many titles as her," Huber added. "And that's okay!"
Huber will chase career title No.50 and Raymond will chase No.76 at the Qatar Total Open this week. Seeded No.1 and after a first round bye, they will begin their week against Chan Hao-Ching and Rika Fujiwara on Thursday.