Black's experience counted for nothing

HARARE - By his own admission, retired Zimbabwe tennis player Wayne Black failed to rekindle the form that made him a legend in years gone by, as he failed to lift Zimbabwe in the just-ended Euro-Africa Zone Group II tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Even though some pundits had gave a spirited defence that the 41-year-old was needed “for his experience”, there is little doubt that calling “Shumba” out of retirement terribly exposed Zimbabwe as a country without talent.

“It was a great experience for these young boys, for me, I will definitely not play in the play-offs and I think for this one I should have left these boys to play,” Black admitted at the weekend.

“My serve wasn’t there you know. I think it put extra pressure on Mark.

“Maybe I wasn’t as quite ready as I thought I was, but credit to the team, they did their best. My serve has never been a weapon but unfortunately my good old return has also let me down.”

Black partnering Mark Fynn in the doubles, was visibly the weakest link of the duo and they went on to lose 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 against Bosnia’s Tomslav Brkic and Mirza Basic. With many tennis lovers thinking that Black’s experience would help Zimbabwe to rescue its sinking ship as they were aiming for a win to keep their hopes alive, the country’s trump card was badly let down by his weak serve.

After Black put up an unimpressive performance, it exposed Tennis Zimbabwe’s poor junior development policy as they were forced to put their hopes on someone who has not played a competitive tennis match for the past nine years.

Before Saturday’s match, Black’s last Davis Cup match was the Europe/Africa Group I relegation play-off tie against Israel back in 2005 and he has not played on tour since reaching the semi-finals of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2006.

However, while many will blame Black’s performance, it was a huge wake-up call for TZ that they need to concentrate on juniors and not recycle old players if they are to regain Zimbabwe’s lost pride in tennis.

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