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March 24, 2003

Chanda Rubin


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Can you just talk about, I guess you're back in the Top 10, it's the first time in several years. Can you talk about whether it was difficult to get back, to climb that back up. And how difficult was it, if so?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, it's been, I think, seven years and three surgeries, so I'd say it's definitely been a road for me. I wouldn't have said it's easy by a long shot. But I've worked hard and I've had some minor setbacks along the way. But I feel like I've been playing some really good tennis overall, when I've been able to be healthy and compete. That's what I take to the court with me every day - I try to anyway - regardless of where my ranking has been. So I feel really good to be back right now into the Top 10.

Q. Was there ever a point when you were up there before, ever a time when you took it for granted, you got there and said, "This is always going to be there"? Did you take things for granted at all?

CHANDA RUBIN: I don't think so at all, because I got injured probably three or four months after breaking into the Top 10. I had a final here which got me up to 6, which was my highest. Pretty much a couple weeks later, my next tournament, my wrist started hurting me. So I don't think it was ever a point where I was just, you know, complacent about it, or I got a chance to, "Oh, I'm in the Top 10," and play tournaments and what have you. I've pretty much had to, right away, look at surgeries and, you know, career, when I'll be able to come back and all of that. I don't think I ever took it for granted. I didn't have a chance to.

Q. Can you give us a little detail about the injury, what happened?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I had my first wrist surgery in '96, I had a stress fracture which happened in April right after my final here in 1996. I was out for a good six months with that injury total. Then I've had two knee surgeries since then, one last year in January and one the January before, in 2001. So I've had a few rehabbing incidents just in the last couple years where I've had to work to get back from the knee injury.

Q. Same knee, different knee?

CHANDA RUBIN: Same knee.

Q. You won twice last year. Did that signal to yourself that you were getting back to where you wanted to be?

CHANDA RUBIN: Definitely. I mean, my goal this time around, and just, you know, since probably the first surgery, has just been to try to win events, at the end of the week, be the last person standing. So I felt really good winning the first one in Eastbourne after having coming back from the surgery. The second one was definitely sweet because of the players I had to beat in LA. It was definitely, you know, for me an indication of where I was and where I could be. I definitely have to sustain that level, you know, on a week-to-week basis, or try to anyway. I felt good about those wins.

Q. Today, in beating Amelie, somebody who hits the ball as hard as she does, you handled her fairly easily, what does that say about where your game is at?

CHANDA RUBIN: I definitely will take days like this. They don't come often. I felt like I played a really great match. She didn't play quite as well as she would have liked. I felt like I started off from the beginning and really stayed on her for most of the match. So, you know, it's something I can take into the next match. I've just wanted to continue building my next round, try to continue doing the same things but even be a little bit better, be a little more aggressive into the net, taking the play that way. And, you know, see where I am at the end of this thing.

Q. Do you have doubles later?


Q. You're a person who plays doubles a lot, too. Just talk about the balancing act you play in a given tournament if you happen to go far in both singles and doubles?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think this tournament is kind of strange because this is my first doubles match and it's Monday. So I don't know how that will work for the rest of the week, if I continue in both. I think it will be a little bit tough. I haven't played as much doubles as, you know, I played in years previous. But, you know, I always like playing. I think it's always good to, you know, still be in a competitive match but not, you know, be singles. If you're still in singles, I think it's nice on top of it. It just depends how I am feeling going into a tournament now - if I want to play, if I want to do the double-duty thing, you know. We'll see overall how much I play, but here, I'm playing.

Q. Why do you think we see such a disparity between doubles and singles as far as the way it's marketed?

CHANDA RUBIN: In singles, it's the more glamourous part. That's where the main -- everything is, you know, in singles. Your top players, the best players, are going to be playing singles. Doubles is a little more specialized, a very different game. It just doesn't get the same type of recognition. You know, in terms of what doubles requires versus singles, it's a lot of difference in terms of that as well. I think, overall, you put a lot more work into playing singles. Even when you're out there by yourself versus being out there with a partner, it's just a totally different game. I think singles is and probably always will be the more glamourous part compared to doubles.

Q. It's your first match on that court today. All through the tournament Venus and Serena got a lot of publicity, also some of the younger American girls that have done well. Does that affect you at all that you might not have had as much publicity?

CHANDA RUBIN: I'm fine with it. I have no problems with that part of it. I don't play it for publicity. It definitely comes along with doing well and, you know, once you're in the later rounds of the tournament and beating the top players. But in terms of it meaning something to me and it meaning something in terms of how I go out onto the court, it doesn't mean anything at all. I'd rather be in the finals with nobody knowing until the final day than have all the publicity and lose first or second round, so...

Q. Mauresmo has one of the finest backhands on the women's tour. How do you get yourself mentally ready to face that backhand?

CHANDA RUBIN: I mean, I don't look at it as any tougher than a number of other backhands out there. I mean, people can hit the ball. Most of the players you come up against who are in the Top 10 can play well, hit the ball well, you know, off both sides. But you have a number of people who hit the backhands really well. You just have to be ready for it. You know that when they can, they're going to try to be aggressive with it, take it up the line. You've just got to be ready to move and counter. That's the name of the game.

Q. To go back to your injury, what was your motivation during all the times you had surgery and trying to rehab, what brought you back to the sport?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think it was the feeling that I just hadn't reached my level, the highest level that I felt that I could play at. I hadn't played my best tennis. That was what motivated me to get back and try to reach that, try to see where I would end up when it was all said and done. Just feel like I played, you know, up to or at least as close as possible to what my potential is. When it's all said and done, I think I'll be happy with that, but it continues to motivate me.

Q. I think you said you were able to reach high standards but you weren't able to enjoy being there.

CHANDA RUBIN: I think sometimes -- well, the good part, and sometimes the most frustrating part about the game, is every week you have to continue to come out and prove it and continue to, you know, make a stand in terms of where your game is, where you feel your game is. That's what I feel like I can, you know, really do a lot better with and where I really want to reach my, you know, high level in terms of those things. So just getting into the Top 10 is, you know, not enough. I've done that before, of course. It's about maintaining it, going even further - I mean Top 5 - and really maintaining a certain level for however much longer I want to do it and want to compete. But, you know, until that time, every week I want to come out and, you know, put it on the line.

Q. Second set, she's just closed 2-3. You hit a spectacular running forehand cross-court. A lot of players would be jumping up and down, but not Chanda Rubin. Inside, is there some quiet exhilaration when you make a shot like that?

CHANDA RUBIN: Definitely, when you make it, it's clear. It's clear to everybody in the stands and it's definitely clear if you're the player on the court. I had a few shots that were really clutch and that I needed at some really tight times where she could have made more of a stand. I was pretty happy to make a couple of those.

Q. When are you going to show it to us on the court?

CHANDA RUBIN: I can't answer that. I mean, I just go out, playing the way that I play. You know, for me, the whole fist pumping all the time, you know, all of that stuff, I think sometimes it can take away, you know, and maybe the next point you play is a flat next point. Just depends on the player. For me, it's not me usually. But if it's in the finals, if I'm in a Grand Slam, we'll see. Maybe ask me then (laughing).

Q. You put a lot of your own time and money into programs to help promote tennis to young girls. Why do you feel so serious about that or take that role so seriously?

CHANDA RUBIN: I think it's important to give back. I definitely try to balance it out with my schedule and that comes first, what I'm trying to accomplish and what I'm trying to do as a player. There are certain things that I feel I can do that don't necessarily take away from what I'm trying to do personally. I just think it's important to, you know, try to promote, first and foremost, the game of tennis and the opportunities that it can provide for young people, as well as just the confidence that you can use in other areas - not just in tennis, if that's the road you choose to go or not. I think it's just important for me to try to get that across. I mean, tennis has helped me and meant a lot to me, so hopefully it can continue to bring it to more people, more kids.

Q. Growing up in southern Louisiana, a big tennis mecca, what put you into the sport?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, big tennis mecca (smiling)... When I was coming up, we had a really good junior program at my club in Lafayette. My parents played, so that's how I first started, first picked up a racquet. They just played for fun, they started playing tournaments later after college and really loved the game. So I kind of picked it up then. We just would go out, it was family time. For me, it was -- I guess I enjoyed it then, I don't remember much. But from then, I just started taking lessons there. As I said, we had a real good junior program. Got some good fundamentals. So I didn't have it too bad.

Q. How many gators you got swimming around in those bayous?

CHANDA RUBIN: I don't count them (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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