NEW YORK - Liezel Huber was at her home in Cypress on Sunday, buried in Hurricane Katrina relief work and trying desperately to pretend the U.S. Open women’s doubles final wasn’t going on without her.
“I don’t want to think about it,” she said, “because once I start to cry, I don’t know when I’ll stop.”
Five days after Huber and Cara Black won the Wimbledon championship
— Huber’s first major title — she blew out her knee in a World Team Tennis match and won’t be able to return to the tour before January at the earliest, although the Nasdaq-100 in Miami in March seems a more realistic goal. She’s still in the early stages of rehabilitation after Walt Lowe, the Texans’ orthopedic surgeon, repaired the extensive damage about a month ago.
Huber was, however, happy to hear that Lisa Raymond and Samantha
Stosur had prevailed in her stead, beating Elena Dementieva and Flavia
Penetta 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Black and Renee Stubbs, reunited as partners with
Huber out of commission, were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Raymond
Huber and Raymond are good friends, and besides that, Raymond has pledged a donation to Huber’s fledgling efforts to aid people left homeless by the storm and resulting floods. Martina Navratilova has already sent Huber $10,000. Billie Jean King and Gigi Fernandez are also on board.
Working through Copperfield Church, Huber and her husband, Tony, have
already helped move one displaced family into a new home in the Houston
area. From that grew her idea to start a foundation, Liezel’s Cause, to act as
a clearinghouse for the displaced. The Web site — www.liezelscause.com
— is up and running.
“We’re working 18-hour days,” she said, “but so many people need help. It’s really great therapy for me, under the circumstances.”
Huber said blowing out her knee has turned misfortune into a positive. The Hubers hope to personally help relocate 10 families.
Huber and Black had also reached the French Open finals and were having
such a good year that both were ranked in the top 20 on the WTA money
list when Liezel went down in a mixed doubles match in Albany, N.Y.
Previously, Huber had been through a lengthy rehab after shoulder surgery,
also done by Lowe.