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Old Jul 23rd, 2011, 03:54 PM   #1486
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

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Old Jul 23rd, 2011, 03:56 PM   #1487
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #1488
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Kastles Win Marathon Finals 23-19,
Finish Perfect Season 16-0




The Washington Kastles completed the first perfect season in the 36-year history of World TeamTennis early Monday morning, overcoming three rain delays and over eight hours of on-and-off tennis to defeat the St. Louis Aces 23-19 in the WTT Finals.

The Kastles added a second King Trophy to their 2009 WTT title when Bobby Reynolds won his ninth championship point at 1:03 am.

It was a frantic, yet fitting finish to the Kastles' 16-0 season, which featured three Supertiebreakers, five one-game victories and six match points saved.

The Kastles had another close call in their marathon championship match against the Aces, which went to overtime before Reynolds won a 3-all point by jamming Roman Borvanov with a service winner.

All four Kastles had a hand in the team's historic victory. After St. Louis won the opening set of mixed doubles 5-3, Arina Rodionova and Rennae Stubbs shocked Liezel Huber and Tamira Paszek 5-0 in women's doubles.

Men's doubles followed with Reynolds and Leander Paes avenging their July 15 loss to St. Louis, defeating Borvanov and Jean-Julien Rojer 5-2. That gave the Kastles a 13-7 lead at halftime, which Rodionova extended to 18-11 with a 5-4 win over the world No. 42 Paszek in women's singles.

Already the 2011 WTT Female Rookie of the Year, Rodionova was named the WTT Finals Most Valuable Player after Reynolds closed Borvanov out in overtime to clinch the Kastles' victory.

Kastles' Head Coach Murphy Jensen elected to open the match in mixed doubles, featuring the Top 2 duets in the league. Paes and Stubbs entered having won eight straight sets in mixed, but Rojer and Huber started Sunday's set stronger.

The Kastles escaped trouble in the opening game, with Paes saving three straight break points to hold for 1-0. From 1-3 in the game, Stubbs attacked a high ball to draw an error from Rojer, and Paes hit back-to-back winners.

But the Aces overcame those missed opportunities by winning 12 of the next 14 points to take a 3-1 lead, led by an impressive run by Rojer. The native of the Netherlands Antilles held for 1-1 with a service winner, broke Stubbs with a passing shot that the Aussie could not handle, and hit two winners to help Huber hold for 3-1.

That's when the rains came, forcing a delay of about 90 minutes. When players returned to the court, the Kastles won one game game before rain returned, prompting another stoppage of play that lasted nearly as long as the first delay.
Upon the resumption, Paes quickly provided the Kastles with two break points at 2-3 on Rojer's serve after hitting a picture-perfect forehand lob that neither Ace could track down. But Huber put volleys away to save both break chances and give St. Louis a 4-2 lead.

The Aces appeared ready to clinch the set in the following game, earning an 0-3 advantage on Stubbs' serve. The Kastles rallied to win an important game, holding for 3-4 when Stubbs hit an unreturnable volley, Paes undercut a drop volley winner and both Aces missed second-serve returns.

Huber, however, rebounded to serve the set out when Paes missed a forehand return long, giving St. Louis an early 5-3 advantage.

In women's doubles, the Kastles made a concerted effort to target Paszek, who reached the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon but is not known for her doubles prowess.

The strategy paid off from the start when the Kastles broke Huber to take a 1-0 lead. In the game, Stubbs directed hard, flat shots repeatedly at Paszek, who made three volley errors, capped by an extended exchange on break point when all four players approached the net before Paszek missed a high ball.

Down 0-1, the Aces had two chances to break back, but Stubbs saved the first with a stab forehand volley winner, and then Rodionova won a baseline exchange with Paszek to give the Kastles a 2-0 lead.

The Kastles made it 3-0 when Stubbs slammed an overhead winner to break Paszek and 4-0 when Stubbs hit a service winner.

With momentum clearly on Washington's side of the court, the skies opened once again, forcing the third suspension of play in the first two sets.

Forty minutes later, the set resumed and the Kastles picked up right where they left off. They completed a 5-0 shutout by breaking Huber when Paszek netted a backhand.

It was a startling loss for Huber who went 14-0 in women's doubles during the regular season, but 0-2 at WTT Championship Weekend alongside Paszek.

Though the players changed in the third set, little else did when Paes and Reynolds met Rojer and Borvanov in men's doubles. The No. 1 men's doubles team in the league gave hundreds of Kastles fans in attendance plenty to cheer about.

Reynolds hit an ace off the net cord on the first point of the set, Paes followed with an emphatic backhand volley smash, and the Kastles never looked back.

After Reynolds held in the first game, he dipped a backhand return at Rojer's feet, drawing a half-volley error on break point to take a 2-0 lead. In the third game, Reynolds hit a leaping overhead winner to help Paes hold at love.

Now leading 3-0 in the set and 11-5 in the match, the Kastles had won eight consecutive games to take control of the WTT Finals.

Borvanov ended Washington's streak when he held serve on a 3-all point, and then Paes and Reynolds hit two winners each to extend their lead to 4-1.

Rojer held for 2-4, and the Aces edged to 2-2 when Paes served for the set. The WTT Male MVP spun a service ace past Borvanov to earn two set points, but the Aces forced a 3-all point when Rojer hit a return winner on the sideline off a second serve from Paes.

The Aces elected for Rojer to return again on the deciding point, which would either give the set to Washington or extend it for St. Louis. This time, Paes added spin to his second serve to draw an error from the Ace.

Six hours after the match began, Washington entered halftime with a 13-7 lead.

Following a brief break, a much-anticipated singles set pitted Rodionova, the WTT Rookie of the Year, against Paszek, a 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinalist.

Paszek held at love with an ace down the tee, then benefitted from two double faults by Rodionova to take a 2-0 lead.

The Austrian Paszek returned the favors in the following game, double-faulting twice to allow the Russian Rodionova to break back for 1-2.

In her next service game, Rodionova rallied from 1-2 to 3-2 with an ace out wide and a backhand volley winner. Though she missed a forehand to bring up a 3-all point, she evened the set at 2-2 by attacking Paszek's backhand with two straight inside-out forehands, the second of which wrong-footed the Austrian for a winner.

That brought the crowd to its feet, with fans from DC erupting into a chant of "Let's go Kastles."

After a hold by Paszek, Rodionova saved two break points by beating Paszek at her own game, outlasting the Austria in consecutive rallies from the baseline.

The Kastle continued to play at a higher level than her world ranking of No. 184 would suggest. She ran around her backhand to belt an inside-in forehand return winner to reach break point for a 4-3 lead, converting when she approached the net to draw a Paszek pass wide.

With Paes offering a towel and words of encouragement between points, Rodionova reached set point at 4-3, 3-all.

A 14-shot rally ensued as each player hustled far and wide to retrieve shots that appeared to be winners. Paszek ended the baseline exchange by hitting a drop shot, and then passed Rodionova with a crosscourt backhand to save the set point and force a tiebreak.

Paszek won the first two points of the tiebreak before Rodionova took the offensive and aggressively won the last five. She hit an ace, a winner and three forehand approaches to draw Paszek errors, wrapping up the upset 5-4(2) and giving Washington a commanding 18-11 lead with one set left.

For St. Louis to overcome its seven-game deficit, Borvanov would have to dominate Reynolds, the Kastles' closer in 10 of their 15 wins coming into the finals.

Neither player earned a single break of serve in the fifth set, though Reynolds had a chance to both break and clinch a Kastles title with Borvanov serving at 3-4, 3-all.

Borvanov hit a flat first serve down the tee for a winner to save the championship point and force a tiebreak.

As in the set, there were no service breaks in the tiebreak, with Reynolds taking a 4-2 lead for three more match points. Borvanov saved the first with an ace, and the next two by outdueling Reynolds in a pair of 12-stroke rallies that ended when the Kastle made errors.

Just like that, Borvanov had won the set, but Washington remained in a winning position with a 22-16 lead going into overtime.

After Borvanov held to make the match score 17-22, Reynolds fell behind 1-3 on his first service game of overtime. He rallied with a backhand passing shot that drew a Borvanov volley error and a heavily-spun kick serve that Borvanov couldn't retrieve.

Now serving at 3-all, Reynolds held his fifth championship point of the night, but the first on his serve. Borvanov bravely approached the net and guessed right when Reynolds hit a down-the-line backhand pass, stretching his racquet and gently guiding a forehand drop volley winner cross court to cut the Kastles' lead to 22-18.

Borvanov won his third straight game in overtime to make it 19-22, as Kastles fans and Reynolds' teammates raised their voices in support of the No. 2 men's singles player in the league.

Reynolds responded well, hitting two service winners and drawing a Borvanov backhand error to take a 3-0 lead in the fourth game of overtime, earning four more championship points.

He'd need all of them.

At 3-0, Reynolds approached the net with a solid inside-out forehand approach before smashing an overhead that many in attendance thought would be the final shot of the match.

Coach Jensen was one of those people, flinging a Powerade high into the air to celebrate. But Borvanov managed to get his racquet on the ball and lob it back to Reynolds' side of the court, just as Jensen's Powerade landed.

Reynolds put a second overhead away, which would have won the match, but the Kastles were penalized the point because of the hindrance caused by Jensen's Powerade.

It was an honest mistake from an exuberant coach, whose positive energy and enthusiasm led him to Coach of the Year honors.

But it forced Reynolds to regroup and gave Borvanov new life. The Ace hit an overhead winner of his own with Reynolds serving at 3-1, and the Kastle missed a backhand at 3-2 to bring up another 3-all point.

Now on championship point No. 9, Reynolds stepped to the service line and placed his first serve perfectly down the middle of the box -- the ball bursting off the court and into Borvanov's body.

Borvanov tried to get around the ball and hit a backhand, but he could not get a full swing and the ball bounced meekly off the edge of his racquet.

That elicited a celebration from Kastles' fans and players who witnessed their fair share of dramatic finishes during the team's surreal run to 16-0.

Rodionova received the WTT Finals MVP award for her efforts in sweeping the women's singles and doubles sets.

But each Kastle played his or her part in overcoming the rain and the Aces, with Stubbs singling out Paszek in women's doubles, Paes serving out the men's doubles set and Reynolds saving his best serve for his ninth championship point.

The 2011 Kastles will go their separate ways this afternoon, but they will be together forever following an un paralleled season that will live on in WTT record books.
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Old Aug 7th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #1489
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Stubbsy is commentating for ESPN this week at the Mercury Inusrance Open. The team (Pam and Cliff) seem very happy to have her on board, and it's so refreshing to hear a voice that is more in tact with the players these days give an opinion. From what they've said, she will be with them for the remainder of the USO series

Some insight she has given:

Players need to attack the net more (no surprise there )
They discussed rule changes, and Rennae is in favor of playing the let cords on serves, and does not think AD scoring should be eliminated.
She thinks Ivanovic needs to tone down her fistpumps, saying she gets too hyper
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Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 02:23 PM   #1490
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Rennae Stubbs - a passion for playing

Rennae Stubbs just short of her 40th birthday is enjoying a career of semi-retirement from professional tennis. Stubbs the longest serving member of the Australian Federation Cup team has made her professional tennis mark as a doubles specialist. Over her twenty year career on the tour she has chalked up sixty tournament wins, including six grand slam doubles titles. Stubbs made history this year by becoming only the fourth player in World Team Tennis history to be on five Championship teams. Stubbs participated as the co-captain on the Washington Kastles. The team was the first in WTTís 36 year history to have an undefeated season. Rennaeís tennis career is not over but as she winds down sheís been shifting into a new role as a t.v. commentator.

Examiner: It was kind of you to offer Sloane Stevens, (rising young American tennis player), encouragement after losing her match this afternoon.

RS: For me it always translated better when it came from a peer rather than a coach because you see a coach as a coach but you donít see a coach as a peer unless of course if youíre being coached by someone whoís been there and done that. When I heard it from peers I was a little bit more receptive. It sunk in more.

Examiner: Early on you played doubles with Helena Sukova?

RS: Yes, I won my first WTA event with Helena.

Examiner: Did it help you recognize your talent as a player that she asked you to play as her doubles partner?

RS: Of course. I felt like I could lean on somebody out there, because I felt she could sort of get me through something that I didnít understand and I could sort of lean on her or sort of feel like youíre just running behind them, and they are going to clear the air for you a bit and make it easier.

Examiner: So you trusted her.

RS: When you are playing with someone whoís achieved so much you just think itís routine for them and if I just sort of do what Iím doing, sheíll tell me if Iím not doing it right. Then Iíll know Iím not doing it right. Whereas if she is encouraging me then Iím probably doing something right. So you just sort of keep doing your thing.

Examiner: You have an enviable professional career doubles record. Did you envision yourself as a career doubles player?

RS: I sort of felt before I even walked on the court with Helena for the first tournament that she felt I was worthy to be out there. Itís a funny story. I had played against Helena in Tokyo and I guess she saw something in me that there was potential to be a pretty decent partner. She she came up to me and asked if I would be interested in playing in Osaka the following week. I mean when she asked I instantly thought to myself, ďOh my god no way thatís too much pressure.Ē I didnít have any plans to go to Osaka so my instant reaction was, ďNo, Iím not playing there.Ē But inside I think it was more like, ďHelena Sukova just asked me to play doubles and Iím not ready for that.Ē I donít think I was mentally ready for it. About twenty minutes went by and I was sitting with myself going, ďWhat the hell have I done? What am I joking one of the best doubles players that have ever played the game has just asked me to play a doubles event". So I went ďOkay this is my chance, take it.Ē I remember walking back and saying to her, ďHelena have you found a partner for Osaka?Ē She said, ďNo.Ē So I told her I would go and play with her and we ended up winning the tournament.

Examiner: Fate and Destiny?

RS: I think in some respects I would have been a good player eventually anyway because I felt like I had the skill. But I think that everything happens for a reason and I think my sort of taking the bull by the horns and saying, ďYesĒ in the end and taking the responsibility that if we didnít win the tournament it would be my fault. Thatís how I felt. If we donít win the tournament itís 100% because of me. Iím the one that sucks between the two of us. Thatís what you think when youíre young and you havenít achieved anything. So when we won it I was pretty pleased.

Examiner: Was there more pressure going forward?

RS: No because the next tournament I won was with Steffi Graf in Germany. So thatís pressure! Basically I learned that the secret to doubles is picking people who are much better than you. Thatís the secret.

Examiner: Is there a bit of humbleness going on?

RS: No. I always say pick someone as good as you or better.

Examiner: Does it motivate you to show up?

RS: I think when I was younger of course when Steffi asked me to play the doubles event in Hamburg, again I said, ďNo.Ē Playing with Steffi in Germany, even though we were friends I was still like, thatís pressure. I was playing club tennis for her club in Germany at the time and really needed to be back for a match on Saturday. It was a match against a rival club team and she said, ďDonít worry youíll be back for the semis because we play, Jana Novotna and her partner second round, so we will lose.Ē These were Steffiís words, ďSo we will be out of the tournament and youíll be back in time to play the club match.Ē So we win our first round and end up upsetting Jana Novotna and her partner in the second round. I went back and played the club match near Frankfurt and then flew back to Hamburg in the same week. I played the semi-final club match which we won then I told Steffi she had to tell the guy I was playing for at her club, that ended up being her manager, that I canít get back to play the big club rival final and itís her fault because we were in the finals of the tournament. Steffi and I ended up winning the tournament.

Examiner: You have an amazing career record of winning 60 doubles titles, 6 of them grand slams. Many people have no idea how incredible your doubles record has been over the years yet ninety-seven percent of people who come to watch professional tournaments are social recreational players who play doubles. As you shift into your burgeoning career as a t.v. commentator do you envision making doubles a premiere part of your broadcasting future?

RS: Most people watch singles because they see these players on t.v. and in print media. People who follow tennis know who I am and sort of know what Iíve done through the years. Certainly when I played with Lisa Raymond or Cara Black we loved going to events like San Diego, and Eastbourne and different events around the world that really appreciated who we were as a doubles team. The audience would share with us how much they loved watching us play and thatís sort of one of the reasons you keep playing, because the people really appreciate what you do and they canít believe the shots you can make because they play doubles.

Doubles is a different game. Even Serena Williams has said to me when we were playing WTT, she wasnít returning very well one night and she said, ďreturning in doubles is so much harder than in singles.Ē So you know there are things about doubles that are much more difficult than in singles. The physicality in singles is obviously more difficult because you are essentially covering the whole court and you are out there by yourself. Doubles is tactically much more difficult than singles. Anticipation, having the courage to move at net on balls that are just sitting there. The timing and ability to take a ball quickly out of the air, and thereís obviously the precision in returning serve. If you look at where a opponent is standing at the net thereís only a few spots in the court where you can hit a clean winner. That would be a perfect return down the line which is over the highest part of the net which is difficult to do. Or a clean winner inside out and then youíve got to get past the volleyer so itís very precise. Doubles is a very different game than singles. I donít think itís explained to people enough how difficult it is. As Serena said itís so much harder to return in doubles because in singles you can hit the return of serve back into the middle of the court. In doubles the middle of the court is the worst shot. So it will be nice to promote and educate to help people understand how difficult it is to do what the really good doubles players do.

Examiner: Did you have an idea you would be involved in doubles for your professional career or were you hoping to be more involved in singles?

RS: I donít think any player starts out thinking they are going to make their living playing doubles. I was always a better doubles player. I played a lot of doubles as a kid in team events in Australia. The weekends were filled up with a lot of doubles for me. I think it just lends itself to my nature, my game and it just came naturally. Singles I had to really work on. Then I got some pretty bad injuries that affected me. When I came back and trying to qualify for singles events I was always doing well in doubles so the problem was I couldnít really go and play qualifying at some of the events for singles. So thatís another reason why some players only go into doubles because they are making money doing it that way and then they have to forfeit essentially doing well in doubles to go and play a qualifying event in singles. That becomes difficult because the player ends up giving up a guaranteed decent pay check to go and possibly get another one in singles. Itís hard because you are paying your own way and I had bills to pay. I was on my own so those decisions you make over time. I mean I didnít quit playing singles until I was 29 so I played a long time but it was hard for me because I was always doing so well in doubles. I had to make a decision and when I did it was when I really started to excel in double
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Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 02:23 PM   #1491
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Examiner: A singles match can be played as early as 11 in the morning while a featured doubles match may not go on court until 9 or 9:30 in the evening. How do you negotiate planning your day?

RS: When you are young it’s easier because your body responds. One big reason I stopped playing singles because I was hurting myself in singles to the point it was affecting my doubles. I was losing matches because either I had bursitis in my knee and I couldn’t really move the way I wanted on the court. I knew I had to concentrate on getting my body healthy and then I could be prepared in the doubles. Yes, physically it’s tough, really tough. Some players like Lisa Raymond have been blessed with good genes and has had few injuries. I think about players that I know that were never in the training room for injuries. Then some players are in there all the time.

Examiner: Do you go to the gym while on tour?

RS: Usually every event has a gym either at the courts or at the hotel. Players, depending on how long their match is will do a cool down, maybe a work-out if they are only playing doubles they’ll do a training session after. It’s governed by how much you’re playing. If you are playing a lot of matches, if you feel like you are in shape you need to stay at a certain level or if you feel like you’re getting slow. There were times when I felt like I wasn’t getting up for my overheads or not getting to the first volley and I needed to do more explosive work. It depends on how you are.

Examiner: Do you have a trainer at home who sends you work-out programs? Or do you have enough knowledge to do it yourself?

RS: In the last few years it’s narrowed down to me being disciplined enough to do it in the gym myself. When I was playing at my prime I would go home and really have training periods and then go on the road and maintain as much as I could. I also like to push myself in practice. I would always push myself on the court during practice and I think that always helped me.

Examiner: Because you were more prepared when you got on the court?

RS: I just liked to push myself out on the court. Steffi Graf was like that. She just worked so hard on the court nothing was harder than that.

Examiner: It shows, that’s why you’re Grand Slam Champions.

RS: It wanes, you have your up and down periods where sometimes you are working harder in the gym than other times. It’s a long season. Sometimes you see players working a lot at the start of the year and then at the end they are just trying to maintain their health. A lot of players just do yoga or things that keep themselves fresh. It depends on your body type and what works.

Examiner: What do you consider to be your professional title. You just retired this year?

RS: I haven’t officially retired. There was bit of a misconception of my retirement at the start of this year because the Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley asked me if this is my last Australian Open. I said it is, and he said Tennis Australia wanted to do something for me during the Australian Open because I am so rarely at home.

I never retired and haven’t retired from the WTA so when I saw a ticker at the bottomof the Tennis Channel saying I had retired, I was like “No, no it’s my last Australian Open.” I’ve also said I wouldn’t play Australian Fed Cup anymore because I’ve always made myself available for Fed Cup. I wanted to give the other players an opportunity.
Having said that if they said, “We really want you to play, would you play?” I probably would have.

Examiner: Can you see yourself coaching Fed Cup for Australia?

RS: I’d love to. I’ve always said if I were asked I would be honored and I would love to do that but I’m not going to boot anyone out. I think everyone is doing a great job.

Examiner: Did you enjoy participating on Fed Cup?

RS: Absolutely.

Examiner: You’re a team player.

RS: No question. I was orange girl, or hitting partner, or showed up to stand in the corner and do whatever was asked. “Rennae, we need you to serve a hundred balls to a player, or we need you to go out there and win our 5th rubber.” It was just sort of like whatever you need me to do.

Examiner: That’s one feature that makes you a great player. You love your environment. You love what you are doing.

RS: I think tennis players are selfish and in their own world. I just love the team environment of Fed Cup. It’s a very Australian thing the mate mentality and I just love it. It’s been really great to play and we have so much fun. I mean our team dinners, the stories, the matches, some of the memories from Fed Cup are irreplaceable.

Examiner: So it would be be neat if you had an opportunity at some point to be involved with Fed Cup Australia on the coaching side?

RS: No question, it would be great.

Examiner: You are one of the consistently successful players on the tour. In your opinion what are mental toughness qualities that help talented professional players become successful week after week, year after year? Part of it sounds as though it’s just the passion for the game.

RS: I think it’s the passion for the game. The respect for the outcome in the game itself.

Examiner: The history?

RS: A little bit. More than anything for me it was about a legacy every time I walked onto the court I wanted to give 100% and never tanked a match. I never threw a match. It was always very obvious that I wanted to win and I think you have to love to win but hate to lose more.

Examiner: You have purpose when you play.

RS: You have to have purpose in practice. I tell kids now that I hit with that are sort of half-assing it in practice, “Listen I just want you to know that this is the way you are going to play for the rest of your life, because you can’t practice one way and turn it around in a match. If you can’t do it now you’ll never be able to do it in a match.” Just being around Steffi Graf and some other greats through-out the years I saw that. I’m a pretty jovial kidding person but when I walked onto the court I was very serious about what I did. I think you’ve got to have this yearning to be good everyday. You’ve got to surround yourself with the right people who also want success.

Examiner: Who were your early role models and mentors, the people that enriched your life and appreciation of tennis and life?

RS: As a young Australian Liz Smylie was a big influence. She was doing well in doubles, won Wimbledon doubles and was a good singles player. I just sort of hung out with her a lot and practiced with her and Kathy Jordan. They took me under their wing and we would practice and they would make me feel like I had potential to be as good as them. There’s little things I’ve grasped from people. I remember Kathy Jordan yelling at me in practice because I’d hit a volley a certain way and she said, “Don’t ever hit that volley there,” and that resonated in me. I probably say the same thing to younger players now. I just think that’s the great thing about life it’s exposing what you’ve gone through in your life to someone younger and seeing the fruition of it.

Examiner: The tour is an unusual place because players come and go. It’s the opportunity to be mentored by this flexible family of people.

RS: It’s true. I’ve had different people just sort of tell me different things through-out my career that I grabbed ahold of and used to help me through big matches. Todd Woodbridge would tell me things during mixed doubles matches that I would remember on the doubles court. Todd had told me he would play with me if I reached number one in the world in women’s doubles. I got to number one in the world and he didn’t play with me. I had to beat him in the Australian Open final before he agreed to play with me. We ended up winning the U.S. Open (2001) together which is pretty special.

Examiner: You haven’t had huge gaps in your career, you’ve been consistent.

RS: Yeah, I take pride in that. In 2009 when I played with Samantha Stosur and we made the finals of Wimbledon and the finals of some big events we ended up not winning a tournament that year, although we made the end of the year Tour Championships. We had a good year but it was the first time since 1992 I hadn’t won a tournament. I said the year I don’t win a tournament is the year I quit. I got to the end of 2009 and thought I had such a good year it would be a bummer to stop on this note so I played on in 2010 and Lisa Raymond and I won the tournament at Eastbourne which made it 60 tour titles for me and 70 titles for her. It was kinda cool. You don’t think about it until people begin saying 60 tournaments, it’s a lot of tournament wins.

Sandra Cecchini was an Italian singles player and she won an event every year she played on the tour. When I heard that I thought that would be an awesome accomplishment. I thought it was a good goal.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 02:24 PM   #1492
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Examiner: Playing on the tour you are away from home for great stretches of time. What do you do to relax mentally and physically to stay fresh on the road?

RS: It depends on where you are. I do think it depends on how much you are playing, winning or losing. If you are losing you’re on the practice court a lot in the day.

Examiner: You don’t take a day off when things aren’t going well?

RS: I would need to take a mental day. I have the tendency to churn over losses and need to get away. There are some players who just want to get back out there and practice. It depends on your personality. Some players like to chill out in their room and get on the computer. When I began the tour there wasn’t the computer so I’d read. At a tournament like La Costa I can go surfing. A couple of times I won here and I surfed everyday, or played golf. But not every tour stop is La Costa. If I am in Berlin I can go to see some history or something to get away.

Examiner: Is it fatiguing going out to see the sights while you are traveling?

RS: It is. People don’t realize how draining it is. People assume we are so lucky traveling and seeing the world. To be honest of the great places I’ve been I haven’t really seen the cool parts. A lot of that is because it’s too physically and mentally draining. People ask me what I mean when I say this, but I say, “When you go on vacation and you go to all those sights that day aren’t you tired at night?” When tennis players have to play a match the next day sight seeing is not easy to do. When you are out of a tournament you are on a plane and onto the next event because if you’ve lost early in the tournament you’ve got to pull it together and prepare for the next tournament. If you’ve had a great tournament you’re straight on a plane to the next event and playing within a day. There’s a lot of down time on the tour but not a lot of that can be utilized in ways that most people would when they have time off. It’s more about conserving your energy.

Examiner: Do you plan extra days at some locations so you can have chill time before the next stop?

RS: If depends where you are. If you’re in San Diego you’ll see the players hang around for a day or two. You can’t really plan because you don’t know how you will do. I remember talking with Steffi Graf about this and she said if there’s one thing she wish she had done more of is to have enjoyed her wins, but you don’t have time.

Examiner: The responsibilities.

RS: Yes, the responsibilities. The pressure to do well the following week. When you are doing well there are more demands. You get to the end of the event, you win it, you have that moment where you see players cry they are so happy, you give them a couple of hours of joy and the trophy, you sit around and talk about the week and then it’s bang, straight onto the next week.

Examiner: The slate starts clean.

RS: It’s, “Get over it because you’ve got to play tomorrow at the next event.” It’s constant ups and downs. If you lose you’re upset for three days or you keep thinking about the shots you missed. I can’t tell you how many times at the next practice if I missed a certain ball during a match and I miss it again in practice, deja vu, it’s not fun.
Then you slowly let it go. Then you go onto the next week. It’s a tough cycle.

Examiner: Did you plan down time and go home?

RS: Having down time, getting away from tournaments and focusing on practicing things or working on fitness is as important as winning matches. When you are doing really well it’s as important as ever to give yourself a day or two to not think about tennis and stress. It feels as though you’re tuned in from the first moment of the year of playing to the very end. During the season you don’t feel like you have down time. I always saw the day after the Tour Championships as the day I could breathe without stressing, because I knew I had six weeks before the Australian Open began.

Examiner: Did you ever work with a sport psychologist during your career?

RS: I didn’t. I did when I was at the Institute of Sport in Australia because it was stressed upon us. I think it’s an individual thing. I think it’s really helped some players. I talk to players and friends about how to handle situations. I have found that to be more beneficial to me. For me it was difficult to listen to a sport psychologist when it felt like,
“You don’t know how I feel. You don’t know what it feels like to have break point and not think about the outcome of that”. You can tell me to breathe and do certain things, maybe it’s just my personality. I’m combative. Where if a player says to me, “Listen this is what I did in this moment, this is what benefited me.” Then I think to myself, “Oh I’ll try that.” It’s an individual thing.

Examiner: The tour is unique in that players start it at a very young age and this is the only environment they are immersed in for many years. Then they get outside that and someone can see that a player is strong in certain areas of their lives but outside these boundaries, a lot is missing.

RS: Yes, it’s something the WTA is trying to do to teach more life skills. I don’t think this gets talked about enough. I talk to players about it because you’re in such a microcosm of the world and you’re such a small part of life. You don’t get life skills. Simple things like how do you pay your bills? You get parents looking after the details for you and suddenly you turn 30 and wonder what have I been doing with my life? It’s scary for players that have been on the tour since they were sixteen. Everything is catered to like booking your hotel room the tournaments make it easy for players. On the flip side there are certain things a normal 17 or 18 year old girl can’t fathom what we go through. So it is what it is. But I think life skills aren’t part of the tour. You’re taught everyday to wake up and work hard, practice, hit the ball and everything else will be okay. There are many players I talk to and ask them what they are going to do when they are done playing and they don’t know. Even for someone like me, I’ve always taken an interest in television. I’ve always been quite social and networked yet it’s still scary for me. It’s so different.

Examiner: It’s a transition of who you know yourself to be.

RS: You’re receiving this accolade, you’re hearing people tell you how impressed they are you’re a professional tennis player and it shifts to you’re a normal person again, and that’s hard.

Examiner: That’s interesting because it doesn’t matter what you are doing, you have value as a person. You’ve enjoyed this stage and the highlights of this commitment. You’ve given to tennis through the success of your professional involvement. You’ve demonstrated great competence. You have great resources, connections and people have tremendous respect for you and what you’ve been doing the last twenty years.

RS: It’s always been the plan to think of life after tennis. It’s funny because I’ve thought I’ve always done that really well but to not play professional tennis it’s been the biggest part of my life and not have that any more when it’s time to stop it’s like jumping off a cliff into safety but where? The unknown is always a bit scary for anyone.

Examiner: What has been the transition path from being a competing player to the next stage of your career? You’ve been participating as a t.v. commentator for awhile now.

RS: I started in broadcasting when I was eighteen. A well known Australian broadcaster asked me what I was going to do when I am done playing tennis? I said I would love to work in television.

Examiner: Early on you had an opportunity.

RS: Yes, the broadcaster said, “Well come up to the booth tomorrow.” My first reaction was, “You’re kidding.” He said “Come on do it”. So I did and the first piece I did I was on camera. I remember the match. I remember who played.

Examiner: Was it fun?

RS: Yes, I loved it. I worked the finals of the Australian Open for ESPN in 1997, with Cliff Drysdale when I hurt my wrist. I worked a bit with Pam Shriver during Fed Cup and we did Chicago together. This was when they were a little less professional about tennis. Now they’ve got their team and I’m just trying to slowly fit into that team. I work a lot for Australian t.v. now and have sporadic work with the Tennis Channel.

Examiner: Has the transition been easy or a steep learning curve?

RS: It’s a process because I am still competing professionally on the tour part-time. I still play team tennis.

Examiner: You can’t drop right off the cliff.

RS: Some player’s like Steffi, she was completely done. She just stopped cold turkey.

Examiner: She had Andre (Agassi). It wasn’t like she was walking into a total void.

RS: That’s very true. I think that’s very important. I think people say well you shouldn’t stop playing because of someone else or stop because you don’t want to travel anymore but sometimes that's a big reason to stop. Even for me settling down and not wanting to be on the road all the time. But we’ll see what happens. It’s part of the learning curve.
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #1493
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~









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Old Oct 27th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #1494
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

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Old Nov 3rd, 2011, 02:18 AM   #1495
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

rennae rocks!

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Old Jan 4th, 2012, 11:45 AM   #1496
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

@rennaestubbs
Me, Cookie and Webby! A bunch of classic aussie sportster

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Old Jan 4th, 2012, 09:00 PM   #1497
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

^^ Thanks for posting! Wow... Karrie seems to have dropped some weight... very thin face!
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Old Jan 4th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #1498
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Who is Cookie?
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Old Jan 4th, 2012, 09:25 PM   #1499
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Natalie Cook, beach volleyball Olympic Gold medallist in the Sydney Olympics.
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Old Jan 8th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #1500
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Re: ~Rennae Stubbs~

Quote:
Originally Posted by louloubelle View Post
Natalie Cook, beach volleyball Olympic Gold medallist in the Sydney Olympics.
thanks, couldn't remembered her name
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