My God. Chanda must have tons of cousins on each side.
Rubin returns from knee surgery better than ever
Posted October 13 2002
Chanda Rubin's stretch run to the Porsche Championships, the big-money final event of the season, began with a thud last week -- a first-round loss to Barbara Schett in three sets.
But Rubin still stands 13th among the 16 women who will qualify for the $3 million tournament and still is in very good position to make this event for the first time since 1995.
With two events left before the Porsche, she could use a few cushion points, though she began the week 256 points ahead of No. 17 Nathalie Dechy.
At age 26, there is nothing static about Rubin's game or personality. Six months off recovering from knee surgery gave her time to think about her game, and she has come back this year better than ever.
It was evident as early as the French Open that she was physically fine and playing top-10 tennis and, a few weeks before the U.S. Open, she swept to the final at Los Angeles with wins over Serena Williams, Jelena Dokic and Lindsay Davenport.
At the U.S. Open, she came close to upsetting Venus Williams.
There's a little more air under her shots, giving her a broader margin for error, and she is working the points now like a 12-year pro. But there also has been a personality change. No longer introverted with reporters, she seems more relaxed and open in interviews. For the first time, she's allowing a glimpse into what drives her.
The daughter of a judge, Rubin grew up in Carencro, La., a Cajun suburb just outside Lafayette where, her coach once joked, there are more bayous than streets.
Her father is in his second term on the Circuit Court bench. "I think the more extraordinary story is him, his background," she said. "He comes from a large family -- 11 kids -- living in a small house. Grandmother raised all these kids. He was the first one to finish school, work his way through graduate school and law school to get his law degree while my mom was teaching and working and making money to support the family."
Her mother also comes from a big family.
"So you appreciate early on the value of hard work, setting goals and working to it," she explained.
"My grandfather on my mom's side raised animals -- chickens, hogs. Sold his prize hog so my mom could go to school. I don't know if she'll be happy with me saying that," she said, laughing a bit.
"I think there's a lot to be taken from that. We're comfortable. I support myself now. I'm not living at home now. But when you think about how it all started, what they had to do ... you know, I appreciate it."
Eight players have qualified for the Porsche: Serena and Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo, Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Jelena Dokic and Martina Hingis, though she has announced that she doesn't intend to play again this year.
The next eight on the list are Daniela Hantuchova, Kim Clijsters, Anastasia Myskina, Silvia Farina Elia, Rubin, Maggie Maleeva, Anna Smashnova and Lindsay Davenport.
The other shoe has fallen on the restructuring of men's doubles for 2003. The draws will remain at 16 teams for the lesser events, but there will be less prize money. The split between singles and doubles will go from 78/22 to 83/17 for Masters Series events. All other ATP tournaments will reallocate from 75/25 to 80/20. The ATP will continue to push to get high-ranked singles players into doubles draws by making it easier for them to enter. In a 16-draw, five teams will be allowed to use their combined singles rankings instead of doubles ranking. ...
Tommy Haas' parents, who were seriously injured in an automobile accident in Bradenton four months ago, have made a complete recovery. They were in Vienna last week to see him play. ...
Greg Rusedski's season is over after undergoing surgery to correct an injury to his left foot, and the irony can't be lost on Pete Sampras, who beat him at the U.S. Open. "He's a step and a half slower," Rusedski whined after losing to Pete. Right now, Sampras could probably crawl faster than Rusedski can run. ...
What's Rusedski future? Very possibly a gradual decline in his fortunes. In 1999 he had surgery on his right foot and recent back problems have caused him to slow his serve. Without much of a ground game, he's probably not going to be a major threat on the men's tour. ...
If Sampras surprises me and a lot of other people by playing on in 2003, it will be with a bigger racket. He will dump his old Wilson Pro-Staff, which he has been using since his junior days. He feels that the ever-improving racket technology is something he has to sample. ...
Richard Gasquet, the 16-year-old No. 1 junior, will play the Orange Bowl tournament at Crandon Park, Dec. 8-15. This year he won the French Open and U.S. Open junior titles and reached the semis at the Australian Open juniors. ...
The Lawn Tennis Association, which runs the British national tennis program, is building a $30 million training center near Wimbledon, which is not unlike the French center that was built 20 years ago and has been an important factor in the rise of French tennis.
Charles Bricker's tennis column appears Sundays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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