Tennis: Doubles or nothing - how No 1 found her niche
Depending on which side of your bread is buttered, tennis doubles is either a high-paced thrill-a-minute funfest or a bit of pointless piffle that plugs the gaps in the schedule between singles matches.
The reality is probably a bit of both.
But while it may be a poor second cousin to singles, that doesn't mean it can't be a very lucrative pastime.
Should she and partner Liezel Huber do as expected and pick up the US$11,000 cheque for taking out the ASB Classic doubles title, Zimbabwean Cara Black's career earnings sit at just a tick under $8.26 million. Not a bad chunk of change for the tennis equivalent of boxing's undercard fighters.
Black is no stranger to New Zealand. Early in her career, Auckland was a regular stop. She was billeted out with local couple Barry and Diane Knott, who became like her "second parents". The 2000 ASB Classic is one of 51 doubles titles she has pocketed over a 14-year career. That year she also made the singles final in Auckland, going down to Anne Kremer.
She did manage one singles title - in Waikoloa - before doubles claimed her as a specialist.
It wasn't, she says, her choice to concentrate on the team game. Making regular doubles finals resulted in her missing singles qualifying at the following week's event. "I wasn't playing any matches and when I finally did get to play I was so out of sorts with my singles game I wasn't winning many anyway. So it just kind of happened."
Not that she has regretted it. Black and current partner Huber have been the No 1 ranked pairing since November 2007. In that time they have won four Grand Slams and 21 WTA titles.
She is passionate about doubles, but Black is realistic about where the format stands in the game.
"It is unfortunate it hasn't been promoted in the right way. A lot of recreational players all play doubles and when they come to watch the tennis they can relate more to the doubles. So it is a bit sad that it has been taken away from the spotlight a bit.
"Part of the bargain when they changed the format was that we'd get more matches on centre court and get a bit more promotion. They've done that a little bit but we'd like to see a bit more, because we do put a lot of time into helping out the tournaments."
They may be the top-ranked team but Black and Huber aren't the world's best female doubles combination.
That honour would go to the Williams sisters, who don't play enough to earn many ranking points but tend to hoover up the titles at Grand Slam time - including three out of four last year.
"They are a bit annoying," Black admits. "It is tough but at the same time it is a great challenge for us to play against the best in the world.
"Unfortunately we haven't had too many good results against them.
"But we can measure ourselves against them and strive to improve and hopefully get a win at some point."
Black and Huber's first match is against local hope Marina Erakovic and Slovenian Polona Hercog.
Some observers believe Erakovic, with her big serve and sound volleying skills, may ultimately become a successful doubles specialist.
It might not be the big time, but it's certainly no waste of time, as Black can attest.
"There are only a few girls who just play doubles but if you put a lot of effort into it and really go for it anyone in the top 10 in doubles can do pretty well."