Q&A with doubles star Liezel Huber
As a doubles specialist,
In a recent interview with SI.com, the 32-year-old Huber discussed her fiery family competitions as a child, how she came to play with Black and her adventures in becoming an American citizen.
The tough thing was that I didn't want to regret not getting [singles] right. In 2004, when I just played doubles, I felt kind of self-conscious and not worthy: "Geez, I'm just a doubles player. I better have better results because this is all I am doing. I better earn more money and my ranking can't just be No. 18 or 20. I'd go to a tournament and they'd ask, "You're just doubles?" You couldn't get your credentials because, "Oh, you're just doubles." People didn't want to practice with you. They'd say, "Oh, you're just practicing doubles." All these things were really rough that first year.
My husband was traveling with me full-time. I couldn't just follow a bad doubles result by doing better in singles or the other way around. There were some weeks when I would lose early, and the question was, What do I do the rest of the week? Now I can try to be an expert at doubles. I can talk to somebody during the match and I have a partner who is encouraging back. If we're tired one week and don't want to play the next, we can do our schedules easily. It's pain-free now.
When I finally had my interview last year, they said I'd get sworn in in three months. I said that does not work; I was hoping to play in the Olympics. The woman at the office said they had a swearing-in the next day but it was full, but she would check to see what we can do. Lucky enough, I got sworn in the next day. After the ceremony, I ran to the car in my high heels. My husband drove to the airport and I changed in the car. I played an exhibition in Albany, N.Y., then came back to Houston for the the passport agency to pick up my passport.