Huber living a dream

Liezel Huber

A nice house in Houston, a husband, dogs, cats, a tennis ranch, even the obligatory motorhome sitting on the drive.

The 33-year-old women's doubles world number one is turning out for the US in the Fed Cup final against formidable Italy in Calabria this weekend.

Durban-born Huber, who married American husband Tony in 2000, became a US citizen in 2007 and played under the country's flag at the Beijing Olympics, is appearing in the Fed Cup for the US for only the fourth time but has quickly become team leader and role model. Huber and partner Cara Black were confirmed as year-end number one pair for the third consecutive year.

Huber, who has earned $4 million and has won 39 doubles titles, including four grand slams, is passionate about her sport and her adopted country.

She set up a foundation called Liezel's Cause for victims of Hurricane Katrina, built a tennis academy, and is trying to get a cycle path built in her Houston neighbourhood to help local children get more exercise.

"I chose America and that makes it special," said Huber, who said she would like a role in the USTA when she retires. "I wasn't born there, I don't take anything for granted.

"I came when I was 15 with a suitcase and now I have a house, a tennis centre, a husband, dogs, cats... so much to be grateful for. I definitely came to America with a dream and I want to give something back."

Huber has scaled the heights, yet readily admits hanging on to the world number one spot would be tough if the Williams sisters played more doubles.

With Black, she was beaten by the Williams pair in the Wimbledon semis and the US Open final.

"I take great pride in being the number one," she said. "We haven't had such a great year, we lost to Venus and Serena pretty convincingly. They are great doubles players and will raise the level so bring it on!"

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