By Alison Vaughan
Last year’s Wimbledon finished on Sunday 14 July with an epic men’s final between top seeded Novak Djokovic and second seeded Roger Federer who played the longest final in the event’s history at 4 hours and 57 minutes on Centre Court. After saving two match points, Djokovic would emerge the winner in a fifth set tie-breaker at 12 games all.
During this final, on Court One, Cara Black from Zimbabwe was playing in the Ladies Invitational Doubles Final with Martina Navratilova against Daniela Hantuchova and Marion Bartoli. The match would go to a third set deciding tie-break with Cara and Martina clinching it 6-0, 3-6, 10-8. The duo also won this event in 2017.
The invitational doubles, as its name suggests, is an invitational event for former top players who are invited back to participate in this event. Martina Navratilova is a household name who has 18 Grand Slam singles titles (9 at Wimbledon), while Bartoli won the Wimbledon singles event in 2013 and Hantuchova reached the quarter finals of the singles in 2002 and had a very successful doubles career.
So how does Cara get invited to such a prestigious event? How many Zimbabweans realize what Cara has achieved in her Wimbledon career? It may come as a surprise to some that Cara has multiple Wimbledon junior and senior titles.
Career Highlights over the years
As a junior player (under 18 years old), Cara won the Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles title with Aleksandra Olsza from Poland.
An incredible year for Cara, she won the girls’ doubles title again, this time with Irina Selyutina from Kazakhstan. This combination had also won the French Open Girls’ Doubles title that year.
Cara also won the Girls Singles title at Wimbledon and came runner-up to Justine Henin at the French Open, an incredible achievement. She capped off the year by also winning the US Open Singles title.
Understandably, in 1997, she achieved the number one junior ranking in the world in both singles and doubles (with Selyutina).
Moving from juniors, Cara was primarily a doubles specialist in her career, winning 60 WTA and 11 ITF titles although she also peaked at number 31 in the singles rankings in March 1999.
Cara ‘painted Wimbledon black’, as one press headline announced, by winning both the Ladies Doubles title (with Rennae Stubbs from Australia) and Mixed Doubles titles (with her brother, Wayne).
She defend her ladies doubles title, this time with Liezel Huber from South Africa
She achieved the number one ranking in doubles in October 2005.
Together with with Liezel Huber from South Africa, Cara won another doubles title.
Cara again won the mixed doubles, this time with Leander Paes from India.
Cara Black from Zimbabwe has therefore won EIGHT Wimbledon titles (three junior and five senior). Quite an incredible feat.
As a professional player, Cara is among the most decorated doubles players in WTA history, spending 163 weeks at No.1, the third-most of all-time. In total she has won ten Grand Slam titles in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles at the different Slams.
By winning the mixed doubles at the 2010 Australian Open, Cara became only the third woman in the Open Era to complete a Career Grand Slam in mixed doubles (after Martina Navratilova and Daniela Hantuchova).
Cara married Australian Brett “Moose’ Stephens in 2006 and has two sons. She divides her time between Australia and Zimbabwe.
Images provided by Alison Vaughan
Originally published in the 112th Issue of Ndeipi Magazine