Cara speaks about earnings

HARARE - Even with a total season’s earnings of $735 188 this year alone, Zimbabwean tennis queen Cara Black insists she leads a modest life because the money just manages to keep her head above water.

The 35-year-old Harare-born ace won three WTA titles this year and reached the quarter-finals of the Australian and French Opens.

The doubles’ specialist recorded 49 wins in the year and lost 21 times, taking her career prize money tally to $7 673 389.

The seven million she has amassed over 16 years makes her of the most successful Zimbabwean sportspersons of all times, handsome returns indeed for a modest, unassuming athlete from a small landlocked country.

But Cara, young sister of retired men’s professionals Byron and Wayne, says life on tour has its own financial challenges.

“You can’t really put any goals on that (prize money),” Black told the Daily News.

“Some weeks you have good weeks, some will be bad weeks and you are running at a loss.”

“Yeah, the rewards are great, but then you also have a lot of expenses that go with it.  All the travelling. It’s tough. But I can say this year we came out on top of the expenses, so it’s been good.”

Black, who has won a total 10 Grand Slam titles in women's doubles and mixed doubles combined, says playing tennis is “not really about the money.”

“I play to test myself. To push myself,” she says. “And like I said, I think I have achieved more than I could have hoped for. This has all been a bonus for me. It’s been more than I have hoped for after having a baby.

“I didn’t plan it. For me it’s all been icing on the cake. Ja, I have surprised on how I have come back especially. It’s been very satisfying to pick up my form to where it was before. I never expected to do that.”

But with retirement pending, does the career earnings guarantee a comfortable life for Black, her Australian husband Brett Stephens and son Lachlan?

“You never know in this world,” she replied.

“With the way things can go financially, I think you have to be careful. I don’t think I have made enough to settle for the rest of my life. I’m definitely going to need to work.

“But I wanna work anyway. I love tennis and I love to give back to the sport. So definitely, one of the goals is to hopefully carry on, coach and give back.  I have had a lot of support from here (Zimbabwe) and it would be my turn to give back.”

In an interview for the main story carried in today’s issue, Black spoke about her retirement plans:

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Do I play? Do I end this way, on such a high note? Or do I take the chance to play one more Grand Slam (Australian Open) because my husband has a home there in Melbourne and the fact that we will be there is partly the motivation.  This is a Grand Slam. It’s exciting to participate in a Grand Slam whether singles, doubles, mixed. So it’s a tough one. I just wanna let the dust settle and go with my gut feeling.”

Black owns a house in Harare, and says she would be happy to settle back home. 

“Marrying an Australian is not easy in terms of where I will live, but this is my home and I would love to see my kids grow up here and enjoy the upbringing that I had and enjoy the country,” she said.

“It’s a very special place. Somewhere I’m very proud to come from.”

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