Parents have roles to play, Wayne Black

Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) has for long struggled to earn promotion up the ladder of the International Tennis Federation back to the World Group the legendary Black brothers, Wayne and Byron, together with Kevin Ullyet once danced in.

Wayne Black with mother, wife and kids.
Wayne Black with mother, wife and kids.

The country's young tennis players have struggled to gain promotion into the Euro-Africa Zone Group Three in recent years.

The former doubles partner to Ullyet, Wayne Black, who is currently based in Zimbabwe coaching tennis to a handful of individuals believes TZ can never achieve getting players back to the high profile stage without some passionate support from the future stars' parents.

"Being a star does not take some few hours of playing tennis," he said. "It takes a lot of dedication from the parents, because at the end of the day they are the ones who spend more time with their kids and know their daily schedule. Parents need to be tough on their kids, get them to hit 10 000 balls before they are 18 and have them to decide later in life what they want to be. It is that foundation that is important rather than introducing them to sports at that age."

Wayne, his brother Byron and sister Cara grew up under the watchful eye of their late father Don Black who was the backbone of the three's successful tennis career.

It was Don who sacrificed a lot of his time to invest in his kids introducing them to a sport he never played professionally but had a passion for.

It is because of the memory of how they were groomed that Wayne believes he can impart that generation of knowledge to his son, Joseph

(6) and daughter Brooke (4) to become the stars they were. "I wish them to become tennis stars because it is a very lucrative life if one gets to go far," he said.

He is married to the former doubles partner of his sister, Cara, to making his family a tennis affair. Irina (his wife) played on the WTA tour. She partnered Cara to the Wimbledon Junior doubles title in 1997.

Wayne won two men's doubles titles, the US Open in 2001 and Australian Open in 2005 with his partner Ullyet finishing in the top five for five seasons.

With sister Cara, Wayne also won two Grand Slam mixed doubles.

Byron who is currently based in South Africa was a US Open quarterfinalist in 1995. In 2000 he again reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. His highest career singles ranking was number 22 in the world in June 1996.

Partnering Jonathan Stark, Byron became world's number one doubles player in 1994, the same year the pair won the French Open.

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Post published in: Sport