wayne black - Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

wayne black – Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

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Fatima Bulla – Senior Sports Reporter

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WAYNE BLACK made an emotional return to Davis Cup action at Harare Sports Club yesterday and the veteran disclosed that the need to experience “the pressure and excitement” that comes with doing business for Zimbabwe again made him come out of retirement.

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“Obviously, I missed the good old days. We haven’t had Davis Cup here for a long time and the thought of coming back excited me. Martin (Dzuwa) kindly asked if I could join the squad; so, yeah, I didn’t hesitate,” the former world doubles Number Six said.

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For close to two decades, Black and his elder brother Byron were tennis torch bearers and during their era Zimbabwe graced the elite Davis Cup World Group for three consecutive years between 1998 and 2000.

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It’s a far cry to the Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 that the country finds itself battling Bosnia/Herzegovina in, but Black insists the adrenalin that comes with Davis Cup action is still the same.

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Yesterday, Black partnered Mark Fynn to take on Mirza Basic and Tomislav Brkic much to the delight of his wife and kids who had been urging him to come out of retirement.

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“The kids are excited; they had been pushing me to play. Yes, of course, they are also loyal players. My wife wants me to play so the kids can watch and hopefully it will inspire them a bit. It’s a mixture of pressure and excitement, a little bit of both,” he said.

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While experience is Black’s advantage, the veteran had to work hard to get into shape for yesterday’s tie.

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“Yeah, it was a struggle a bit; I’m a bit older now and slower and these young guys are hitting the ball hard these days and I had to work hard to get used to it,” said the man whose place in local tennis folklore is guaranteed.

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Zimbabwe’s Number One player Takanyi Garanganga described the bouncing back of Black as a blessing.

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“We spoke to Wayne before the tie and he gave us some pointers about this game.

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“Some of the things that he experienced from the first day I kind of went through that as well. So, it’s pretty helpful, you know. I think it’s a good thing,” the US-based player said after Friday’s round of matches.

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Benjamin Lock added that the return of Black has boosted spirits.

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“Wayne is one of the tennis legends in Zimbabwe and the world. We love to have him in the team. And, yeah, he has come out of retirement. And I think it’s added a lot of value, wisdom and also playing ability to the team,” said the towering player.