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September 3, 2002

Chanda Rubin


MODERATOR: First question for Chanda, please.

Q. Pretty gritty effort there. If you had volleyed just this much better, would the result have been different today?

CHANDA RUBIN: It was a few things I think that I came up a little bit short on. I mean, definitely had some chances at 5-All, the 15-40 game, a couple shots off the ground missed into the net. A few times I did that a little too much in the match where I was missing some shots. You know, if I would have just kept it going a little bit more, I think it would have been a different result.

Q. You volleyed so well against Lisa in the last round. Is it because Venus is a significantly better player or were you just not up to your standard today volleying?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, she definitely -- with her, the shots are coming a bit harder. She's, you know, getting to a lot more balls than, you know, even someone like Lisa. But I think, you know, overall I volleyed okay. The point and the goal was just to make the moves and keep coming in, let her see that I was going to keep attacking. That's where I had the best chance of winning points. I feel overall I did that pretty well. There were just a few other areas I could have done better: my serve, if I would have held a little bit more early in the third set. A few things I need to work on.

Q. Do you feel like the last two games she kind of raised it a level, and when you had your chances, especially on that second breakpoint, you kind of let down a little bit?

CHANDA RUBIN: Yes, a little bit. I mean, she's going to be in there. She's going to compete. She's going to get to balls. She's going to keep fighting. I feel like I'm going to do the same thing. At the end it was just, you know, a little difference. I fell a little bit short, as I was saying, in some areas where I was just missing at the tail end of the point.

Q. That second breakpoint, you definitely sort of looked... What was going through your mind?

CHANDA RUBIN: I was trying to go for a little too much, raised up on the ball. Legs, I felt, were a little bit straight, didn't get under the ball. Kind of let the moment take over instead of just staying down with the shot and hitting the shot.

Q. Was there ever a point where you thought you started to take control of the match in the third set? What are you thinking in the third set, golden opportunity?

CHANDA RUBIN: I never felt like I was out of the match. Certainly when I won the second set, I mean, it was a new match and you start all over again in the third. Even when I got down a break in the third, I felt like it was just one break. It was a matter of me just cleaning up my serve just a little bit, and at that point keeping it even, as even as possible, until I got my chances on her serve. I was getting some chances there. That's kind of what I was thinking, you know, throughout the third set. Definitely towards the end, I mean, the chances were there.

Q. What part do nerves and the constant pressure she's representing over there play in it?

CHANDA RUBIN: I guess quite a bit (laughter). I mean, you have to -- for me, the goal was not, you know, to press too much and overplay. But I knew that I had to take some chances and I had to, you know, try to attack when I could, you know, keep her off of me, do that by getting on top of her as much as I could. It's just a fine balance I need to get better with. Especially in matches like this, in matches against a player like Venus, I have to get a lot better at maintaining that balance, you know, still being aggressive, still hitting my shots, going for my shots, but not to where it's over the edge a little bit.

Q. You went through so much. Did you ever not believe that you were capable of days like this? Was there ever a point where you didn't think you still had this in you?

CHANDA RUBIN: Going through the injury and the surgeries, I definitely felt like I hadn't played my best tennis yet. It was a question of, you know, just getting healthy. That was, of course, the priority. Having to have a second surgery was a huge disappointment after rehabbing from the first one, thinking that I'd be back to playing. So I just had to start all over, you know, keep the goals which were week to week in terms of the rehabbing until I could get healthy enough to get back on the court, really try to take advantage of opportunities in tournaments. That's how I approached it throughout the process. We did a lot of different things in terms of rehabbing. My coach was arranging every week what we were going to do, we were going to do the fifth week, the sixth week, the seventh week. It was a process, but there were always goals along the way.

Q. I think you're one of the first people to take a set from her in the last couple years at the US Open. That's got to make you feel pretty good.

CHANDA RUBIN: Not right now, yeah. I mean, I gave myself a chance in the match. I mean, as a competitor, you want to go out in every match and do that, give yourself a shot. But it's disappointing not to win it when the chances were there. You look up, you know, you're right there for the match.

Q. When you're in the middle of a match like that, can you allow yourself to hear or feel what's going on, the buzz surrounding it, or are you oblivious to that?

CHANDA RUBIN: I can feel there's a bit of atmosphere when the stadium starts to fill up more, as it did midway through the first set. You can kind of feel that. Especially in some tight points, some long points, really great rallies that had nice endings, the crowd really got into it. You can feel that, feel the energy and the electricity. But it just sort of mirrors, you know, a little bit of the tension in the match at times. I think the crowd feels it. As a player, you feel the crowd. You just use it in a positive way.

Q. You were close to going down 2-Love in the second set. You fought through that game. Was that a turning point in this match?

CHANDA RUBIN: It was definitely a point where I needed to stay even, not let her just run away with the match after she won the first set. Had a couple service games I just didn't play well. At the beginning of the second, it was a question of just keeping it really tight until I could try to, you know, maybe make her feel a little more pressure on her serve, get some opportunities on her serve in the second set. That's what ended up happening.

Q. Do you feel more she rose to the occasion than you let it slip away?

CHANDA RUBIN: She definitely rose to the occasion at times. She came up with some big shots at some times that any other player wouldn't have. But I also feel like a few opportunities were on my racquet, and I didn't quite measure up as well as I needed to. So it was a combination. But she definitely came up on some shots, she stayed in there and made balls when she needed to, which you have to do as a top player.

Q. You had some balls that against anyone else would have been winners. She did somehow manage to get them back or either make you work another shot or two to win the point. Can you talk about how that works on you psychologically, or does it at all?

CHANDA RUBIN: Going into the match, I knew that she was going to get to more shots. I've played her before. She's going to get to one extra ball. You know, that's just something I accepted beforehand. As I said, I didn't want that to make me press a whole lot more than I needed to. But it's also a challenge. For me it's a great match to have to play, to be able to play and match up against, see where I am. It forced me to play better than I've played in my first few matches here at The Open. The way I looked at it was, you know, it's going to happen, you know that, you accept that, it's just a question of can you measure up. I felt like I could. I felt that I could still win the match.

Q. There are many important men in women's tennis this day and age: richard Williams, Stefano Capriati, Harold Solomon. Would you say your surgeon and Lindsay's surgeon, Dr. Steadman, is the most important man in women's tennis this season?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, for me he was very important at a certain point in time. You know, he's continued to be so. I can't speak for Lindsay. I would say she feels the same way, that he did a great job. For us it's definitely important. I don't know if anyone else will really consider that, you know, it makes them any difference.

Q. Does he get a little note or a couple tickets here and there?

CHANDA RUBIN: Oh, definitely. Anything he wants, yeah (smiling).

Q. Most of the protracted rallies in the match were won by you. You hit your backhand extremely well. You came up winning many points off her forehand. Was this part of your strategy going into the match, to attack her forehand?

CHANDA RUBIN: It was. It was a play that I wanted to use. When it got a little bit tight, especially in those longer rallies, pick on the forehand a little bit more. Her backhand is solid. She can hit some shots from some very difficult positions off that side. Her forehand, I feel in speaking with my coach before the match, that that was sort of the side to pick on when it got really tight. She gave me some errors - a lot more errors - on that side.

Q. She's known as one of the greatest servers in the game. Her second serve today, I think you won seven out of ten points on, 70% of the points. Is it a very attackable second serve?

CHANDA RUBIN: It is for me, compared to her first serve. When I saw that she had to hit the second serve, I tried to really get into an attack mindset, you know, give myself just a big area, not really go for a winner, but just try and pin her with it. It's one of the few times you're going to have an opening early in the point. Her first serve, she was serving very well, it's very quick. It's mainly a question of getting it back and making her play off of that. Her second serve was a time I felt I could attack on.

Q. Is there a huge difference between the two, her first and second serve, quality-wise?

CHANDA RUBIN: Yes. I mean, I think for anyone, it's the difference between your first and second serve. Most players, especially top players, they're going to look at that as an opportunity, versus the first serve where you're in more of a neutral position. I think that's true of anyone. A little more so with her because her first serve is so big.

Q. Is that attack mode you talk about the only way to beat her?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, it's the way I have to play. I can't speak for anyone else. For me, it's the way I have to play. I have to take all those opportunities. If I don't, she's going to take them. She's going to take that first strike.

Q. Was there a moment after the second surgery that a moment like this might have felt out of the world?

CHANDA RUBIN: I couldn't hear.

Q. Was there a moment after the second surgery when having a moment like this seemed especially far away?

CHANDA RUBIN: Well, there was a moment when I learned I had to have the second surgery that it seemed quite far away. From that point on, as I said, I had the goals in mind and was just looking forward, looking to first get healthy and take it step by step. Also at different times I was watching some of the tournaments on TV, you know, just keeping in touch with what was going on. So, you know, also I had some thoughts of my own about getting back into those situations and playing on center court, playing in the Grand Slams again.

Q. Was it hard watching those matches?

CHANDA RUBIN: I would prefer to have not been in the position that I was in, not been rehabbing. But I already accepted that was what I had to do. So watching it was just another step before I could get back to playing. I didn't look at it any other way.

Q. There's so much talk about the Williams sisters being on a different level. You've mentioned you have to step up or step out of the way. Do you think other players should look at what you've done in the last few weeks against them and just stop talking about it and get down to hard work and take you as an example?

CHANDA RUBIN: I wouldn't say they should take me as an example. But I do feel that, you know, talk is just that; it's just talk. They deserve to be where they are. They've gone out and they've beaten people. If they're in the finals against each other, it's because they've beaten everybody along the way to get there. If you're not going to -- if you have the opportunity to play them and you don't win, you don't stop one or the other from getting there, I think it's pointless to then complain about it. That's just how I see it, how I approach it.

Q. You certainly see them as beatable when a lot of people don't. How have you always been able to have that attitude?

CHANDA RUBIN: I mean, I think it's pretty sad if you step out on to the court and you don't feel you can beat the opponent. Then why go out there? You know, why train and try to get better if you don't feel that it's going to have some benefit when you get into the actual matches? I mean, that's just my mentality going out there. If I don't feel that I can beat someone, then you have to improve certain things that will make it possible for you to beat them. Everybody has weaknesses; everybody can be beaten. That's just fact.

Q. She made many unforced errors. What goes through your mind when she makes so many errors?

CHANDA RUBIN: It was a three-set match, pretty competitive match, pretty tight match. Overall I think we forced errors from each other at different times. You know, in my mind it was just a question of staying even in a lot of points. I mean, she's going for shots; she's going to make some, she's going to miss some just like anybody else. It was a question of how many I was going to make versus how many I missed. That's just tennis. It's matching up.

Q. After your Grand Slam performances this year, French Open and Wimbledon, your performances in the US leading up to the US Open, you really didn't creep up on anybody, everybody knew you were playing well. Some people thought you were one of four or five players that could win this tournament. Did you come into this Grand Slam thinking you also were maybe not the favorite but an outside favorite to win here?

CHANDA RUBIN: I felt that I was. You know, I beat Serena a few weeks ago, No. 1 player in the world, she's been playing great. I felt like the other really player who was on form was Venus. I feel like I can play with her and beat her. You know, Lindsay, as well, the last few weeks. She's been playing well. I mean, if you look at the players who are going to be vying for the title, those are players that, you know, I've played with or beaten recently. So I definitely felt going into this tournament that I had a shot, that it was just as much possible for me as anyone else. This was a great match to have. This was going to be a determining match, as well. I felt that way coming into this tournament.

Q. You felt like you had a chance coming in. What did it feel like after losing the first set, seeing those aces come by to start the second set?

CHANDA RUBIN: I was a little bit upset with myself just for not playing better on my service games in the first, just letting it slip so one-sidedly as it did. It was just a question at that point of weathering the storm, trying to get back on even keel, just get back to what I went into the match trying to do, you know, back to basics.

Q. There hasn't been a lot of time for hindsight. Do you think down the road, in terms of the progress of your career, you'll be able to look back at this match and draw from it, take something positive from this match?

CHANDA RUBIN: I mean, at the moment, it's a little more disappointment. You know, I'm going to just keep looking forward. It's not going to change how I've approached coming out here playing from the first tournament to this tournament. It's not going to change that. I'm just going to keep, you know, improving the things that I need to improve on, working on those things. It's just going to be the same thing. After this week, I'm going to have to focus on the indoor season, next tournament. Right now I have the doubles. I'll continue taking it one match at a time.

Q. If it comes down to Venus and Serena in the finals, do you have a sense of either one playing better than the other right now?

CHANDA RUBIN: I don't at the moment. I think when they play each other, it's a tough match-up for both of them. I don't think they've played their best tennis yet against the other. I think they both have things that they do well. Venus is hitting the ball really clean at times, and she's really stepping up at times when she needs to, serving well when she needs to. But also I saw Serena's last couple matches, and I thought she played just a really clean match. She hasn't really been pushed. I think that will be a really big test, if she's pushed, how she plays.

End of FastScripts….

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