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The 2010 ASB Classic featuring the Kia Motors Singles and Doubles has scored an early coup with the confirmation that the world’s No1 doubles team and yesterday’s US Open doubles finalists, Zimbabwe’s Cara Black and Liezel Huber(United States) have confirmed to play in Auckland in January.
As a team, Black and Huber have won a total of four Grand Slam doubles titles at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open, over 27 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles. Between them they can boast over 100 titles in total with various partners.
Black and Huber have been co-ranked No1 since November 2007. Black has spent the second most weeks in history as the world's No1 doubles player, trailing only Martina Navratilova. Huber has spent the sixth most weeks at No1.
The last few years have resulted in nine tournament victories in 2007, 10 in 2008 and five so far in 2009.
Black and Huber make up one of the legendary doubles teams of the current era and just this week have become the first team of just four in total to qualify once again for the prestigious year end Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships that they have won the last two years.
“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve gone to Auckland. Blame my husband. Marrying an Aussie, he’s kept me playing in Brisbane rather than Auckland. I have always missed it.
It kinda started my career – my first tour singles final and my first doubles title there. Great memories and wonderful people and wonderful family I stay with too,” says Black, whose brothers Byron and Wayne were ATP players who competed in men’s professional events in Auckland.
Huber formerly played under the South African flag but is married to an American and last year became an American citizen. She played for her new nation at the Beijing Olympics while Black has represented Zimbabwe at Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
“We’re very excited about coming to Auckland and we’ll train very hard in the off season in preparation. The last time I was there was in 2002 and Nicole Arendt and I won the title, while Cara has won the title in 2000 with Alexandra Fusai, so Cara and I will be looking for a first title together as a team at the 25th anniversary of the tournament,” says the energetic Huber.
“To have the No1 ranked players and doubles team come to New Zealand is really great for the public. The majority of tennis players in New Zealand play doubles, so what an opportunity for them to see the very best team in the world in action at ASB Classic,” says ASB Classic Tournament Director, Brenda Perry.
Cara and Liezel are doubles specialists who love to interact with the public and tennis fans. We will be announcing at a later date, opportunities for the Kiwi public to get to meet Cara and Liezel and for a lucky few to even get to hit with them.”
More player announcements are expected in the next few weeks.
The tournament will once again include video podcasting as well as live scoring and other new features.
The ASB Classic featuring the Kia Motors Singles and Doubles will be played at the ASB Tennis Centre January 4-9, with qualifying January 2-3.