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March 26, 2003

Chanda Rubin


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Chanda, please.

Q. I'm doing a celebration in the life of Monica Seles. I was wondering, you were playing as a junior, you were about 16, I think, the year she got stabbed.

CHANDA RUBIN: I think I was maybe a little bit older -- maybe a little bit older.

Q. You would remember quite well what happened?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I would remember. I wasn't at the tournament or anything, no.

Q. What happen afterwards was that all the players voted to drop her as No. 1 position and they said that they moved up. Can you remember that situation at all?

CHANDA RUBIN: No, I don't remember.

Q. You can't?

CHANDA RUBIN: At all, no. I mean, I was pretty young. I was probably coming out of high school, '93, so I don't really remember.

Q. Just one other question also. She got held up for grunting at Wimbledon in 1992. She was penalized. Have you ever played her?


Q. Did you find it off-putting?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think when you get into the match, you don't really notice it if you're playing her, but there are times where it gets quite a bit louder and then it's a little bit above what, you know, her normal grunting is. But most of the time, you don't notice it playing her.

Q. Have you played others who have grunted?

CHANDA RUBIN: I have. I don't think I've played anyone who's grunted quite as loud as she does.

Q. Is that so?

CHANDA RUBIN: Probably not. Probably not. I can't remember it anyway.

Q. Not even the Williamses?

CHANDA RUBIN: No, I don't think quite, I mean...Even Serena, who grunts quite a bit.

Q. That's who I was thinking of.

CHANDA RUBIN: From what I read, she modeled herself after Monica a little bit early on, so maybe that's where the grunting came from. I read that, so...

Q. The other thing was she got held up by Martina Navratilova, who used Rule 21 against her.

CHANDA RUBIN: I have no idea what that is.

Q. It's deliberate hinderance against an opponent.

CHANDA RUBIN: Okay. I mean, I can't make any comment because I really have no knowledge, enough knowledge.

Q. How do you feel about reaching the semifinals of the NASDAQ-100?

CHANDA RUBIN: I feel good. I feel really good about the couple matches I've played the last couple rounds. I feel like I've been playing better and better each match. As the opponents get tougher, you really have to really enjoy a win like the one I had tonight and the one I had the other day.

Q. Are you now able to, because you're healthy and playing your best, able to put together a run rather than follow up a great match with a disappointing result?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I feel like I've put together some runs, you know, recently, I mean, in the last year that I've been playing, year and a half. I focus more on just being more consistent each week. It hasn't been anything spectacular - you know, that I would say was just really spectacular. But I feel like I've slowly gotten better, had some really nice tournaments last year, after being injured. So that was really, you know, for me, really exciting. I think now, definitely, I feel like I can play through, you know, to the finals, win any tournament I go into. That's how I want to approach each match. And win or lose, you know, just make somebody beat me.

Q. Could this be the best stretch, the best achievement ever?

CHANDA RUBIN: Maybe so. I don't know. I think the week I had in LA was really a great week for me back-to-back with Serena being No. 1 and playing the tennis that she was playing, following it up also with a Top 10 win with Dokic and then Davenport for the finals. But I would certainly put this maybe a little bit above that to win here, of course, because of the people that I would have to beat and also because of the size of the tournament and everybody that was here. So, definitely, this would be a real crown.

Q. When you talk about the confidence level that you feel like you can walk into any tournament and win it, is it fair to say there's kind of a gulf between players who have had some success against the Williamses and those who haven't? That that's a mental hurdle, once you've done something like beat Serena, you say, "Hey, I can do that," and there's a whole crowd of people out there who are talented that don't realize they can do it or can't do it?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think so much of tennis is mental at this level. Everybody can go out and hit the ball. I mean, you saw a match where, you know, a young player, the young French player actually played a really solid match against her and just came up a little bit short in some games, but it was a competitive match, a little more competitive than the score line. I think when you look at the difference from playing a really good match to being able to win those type of matches is experience, but also confidence, going out, knowing you can win. If you don't win that week, you can still win another week. That's part of, you know, of the game. When you get to the higher and higher levels when you're playing the Top 10 level, then Top 5, and competing for those top spots, very top spots, it's definitely confidence.

Q. Did beating Serena last year change you as a player? Did that give you a boost you're still riding?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think it definitely gave me a boost. Those kind of weeks are a boost for anyone. I felt going into it that I could win. I felt, you know, when I played her at Wimbledon, and played Venus at the French, they were really tough matches, but especially at Wimbledon, I felt like I was in there and just a few games here and there would have changed the match. Instead of being 3-3, it could have been a win in my favor. So it's a fine line that you walk in those type of matches. But, you know, I just knew that I needed to go out and just put it on the line and believe that I could win and, you know, she -- if she had still won that match, it wouldn't have changed the way I felt coming off of the court and the way I'm going to approach the next match. I think that's important, to have that kind of attitude, especially when you've been playing for a lot of years. Everybody knows everybody. You got to believe when you walk out there.

Q. Speaking of everybody knowing everybody, you've had good success against Jennifer, but you haven't played her for a while. How do you feel about that?

CHANDA RUBIN: I haven't played her since she won her Grand Slams, I think, and has been No. 1. It's just gonna be a new match. We've practiced a number of times. We both know each other's style. But it's about how you go out and compete. Every point, you know, each game, how you put the points together. It's just going to be important that I go out and be really solid, but continue to try to raise my level, raise the aggressiveness, you know, within the points, and, you know, see where it is at the end.

Q. You feel like she's at a different level than she was the last time you played her, because it's been so long?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think any time you look at a player who's won three Grand Slams since you last played them, there's going to be a difference in terms of how they see themselves. So, yeah, it will be different but, you know, it's just a match just like any other match that I've been in, where I have to approach it knowing what I need to go out and do, knowing my game. I might fall short a few times, but I still have to keep doing it. I believe, at the end, I'm good enough, you know, to be standing.

Q. Talk about that match with Serena when you beat her, and, generally, Serena and Venus, what are the points you think you can take advantage of when you play them? They obviously don't have very many weaknesses.

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I mean, actually, right now, for me, I mean, my focus is going to be Jennifer and having played Serena and, you know, having beaten her doesn't mean that, you know, there is a secret formula to beating her. For me, I just feel like, you know, with my game, when I'm playing well, I can beat anyone. And obviously, Serena has -- especially this year, she's raised her game, hasn't lost a match. You know, she's followed up last year's three Grand Slams. It's always a tough campaign, you know, to knock a player who has a lot of confidence off. I mean, but you just have to go in, believe that you can do it and, you know, have a game that can force a player like Serena, I think.

Q. It seems like you're going to match up well with Jennifer. You hit the ball hard off of her serves. You're in good position to neutralize a lot of her weapons?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think I just have to start off real quick, I have to start off seeing the ball real well. I know it's going to be coming hard, I know it's going to be coming deep. She hits the ball as well or better than anybody, stroke for stroke. It's going to be a match where I have to start off really seeing the ball and really quick off the ball.

Q. Is it a bit of a handicap to play at night?

CHANDA RUBIN: I don't think so. I just played at night here, so I got a real good look and good feel.

Q. It is a different kind of play?

CHANDA RUBIN: It is, it is. You have to deal with different conditions, that's part of the game, you got to be able to adjust to different surfaces, different conditions, night, day. So I'm looking forward. It's a great match for me to have either way and to test myself. That's what I play for.

Q. Justine said she was feeling a bit lethargic around the court tonight. Did you sense that at all?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I felt like, you know, definitely -- I felt quicker and, you know, maybe she didn't seem quite as quick. But I felt like I was playing well and, you know, rushing her a little bit more. You know, it was just important not to let her get too comfortable out there and just take advantage where I could. But, you know, I didn't focus as much on kind of how she might have been feeling.

Q. You raced into that 4-love lead pretty quickly, then she came back again, I think she served out to love and had a breakpoint in the next game. Did you think to yourself, "I need to step back up again"?

CHANDA RUBIN: I thought I started making a few errors there I wasn't making at the beginning of the match. That's going to happen. You have to be able to recover from it and not let it go on too long. I felt like I competed well at like those points, even though I wasn't quite as crisp as I was in the first few games. But you just got to compete there and get it back on track and, you know, get back to the basics first. I felt I did that pretty well.

Q. Thirteen years I think it is on the tour now. Obviously, it's great on nights like this, tournaments like this, when things are going your way. You must have had moments as well when things haven't been quite so good. Can you talk about that and how much self-motivation you need on tour to get yourself through, back to moments like this?

CHANDA RUBIN: Not quite 13, I think, but, you know, who's counting... But I definitely feel like I've been through, you know, a lot of different situations out here. I've had some really great matches. I've had some really tough matches, tough losses, injuries, that whole thing. You know, for me, I just continue to be motivated, you know, every time I -- hopefully, every time I'm coming into a tournament. You know, I just feel like I haven't played my best tennis. I felt, coming back, even from this last injury, that I hadn't played my best tennis yet. So, you know, that's what continues to motivate me and to play it on a consistent basis and to really reach, you know, the maximum potential that I feel like is there for me in terms of my game. And, you know, tournaments, couple matches like I've had here, a tournament like this, it's definitely -- this is where I want to be, this is why I've done all the things that I've done to get back and why I've worked as hard as I have for 11-plus years out here, is to be in the hunt in moments like this. So it's worth it in the end.

End of FastScripts….

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