Welcome Back, Cara Black

One of the most decorated doubles players in WTA history is back, and in her first WTA tournament back she's in a final. So what has she been up to? Becoming a mom, for one...

Published January 04, 2013 12:00

Welcome Back, Cara Black
Cara Black

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - There's been a quiet comeback story brewing at the ASB Classic, and that's the return to action of Cara Black. One of the most decorated doubles players in WTA history - five Grand Slams, 49 more WTA titles and 163 weeks at No.1, the third-most all-time - she was off the tour for more than a year and now, in her first WTA event back in Auckland, she has already made it through to a final alongside Anastasia Rodionova. So what has she been up to? Here she is...

On not playing any tournaments between July 2011 and October 2012...
"Well, I really wanted to have a baby, so it was just time to wind down and go that way. We'd been trying for a little while. I still played Wimbledon in 2010 - I thought, 'I'm here, I may as well play.' But then soon after that I fell pregnant, so yeah, that's what I've been up to during all this time!

"His name is Lachlan Alexander Stephens and he was born April 26, 2012."

On what motivated her to come back and play...
"I'd actually never really had a break from the game before - fortunately I was injury-free in my whole career, so I played full schedules, year in, year out. So when I left the tour I was sort of mentally fried from all the years of travelling and things. Then the time away refreshed me a lot, and having a child changed my whole perspective a lot. I had time on my hands so I started going out and hitting again, and it felt good, so I thought I'd give it a bash again, nothing to lose, have a bit of fun, really!"

On whether it was hard getting back into training mode...
"Kind of halfway through I was like, 'What am I doing?' It was tough, more physically than anything. But because of my mentality when I stopped, when I was so tired and all, it was nice to be so fresh in the head about it all. I came back at a couple of ITF events in Australia in the fall, and I actually really enjoyed it. It was a test, not just for me on the court but also travelling with him and seeing how we'd manage, but he's so great, he's such a little blessing, it's very easy, so we're pretty lucky."

On those ITF events in the fall, which she played with Arina Rodionova - they won the Traralgon title and reached another final in Bendigo...
"We dealt with some really tough weather, some extreme conditions. It was kind of off-putting but also a great test, and I'm glad I did it. I really enjoyed it. I played with Arina - I was also there to help her with her singles. It felt good to be back. I enjoyed it, which is the most important thing, really."

On her friendship with the Rodionova sisters...
"I played with Anastasia at the end of my career and we combined really well - and we became really good friends over the last few years. And I was helping Arina a little bit too when I was pregnant. We've all got a really good relationship. It's fun going from coaching back into playing again. Hopefully I can remember a few things I told her and apply them to myself now that I'm playing again!"

On her plans for the 2013 season...
"We're just going to start out with a few tournaments. Even though I've been to a few tournaments already, the whole season is a totally different thing. So we'll give it a go, one tournament at a time. Right now I'm just looking forward to the Australian Open, which is the main goal, then we'll see."

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