1996 THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Key Biscayne, FL
March 27, 1996
C. RUBIN/G. Sabatini
6-3, 5-7, 6-3
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Q. You like the epochs; don't you?
CHANDA RUBIN: No.
CHANDA RUBIN: No. I had my chances in the second set. You know, a couple balls that I hit that were just out. I tried to keep going for it. It was disappointing when I lost the second, but my main goal was just to come out back in the third and take the third. The second set was over with. I had to forget about it.
Q. Do you have any awareness of her and her leg, how much it affected her?
CHANDA RUBIN: No. I wasn't ever really sure. I thought after the trainer came, she was moving a little bit slower. After that, I didn't really think it had much of an affect. I don't know.
Q. But in the third set, did you know she didn't go for the net? Were you surprised?
CHANDA RUBIN: It had been a long match. I was a little bit tired. She was a little bit tired. You know, I don't know if it was her leg or what. I just felt like, hey, whatever I had to do to win was going to do it.
Q. The delay in the second set, when she went off and came back, you were down, you had not won a game in the second set. It seemed to rejuvenate you. The rest seemed to do well for you?
CHANDA RUBIN: It kind of made me think a little bit, what my objectives were, what my focus was, keep being aggressive. I think at certain times during the match, I maybe wasn't as aggressive as I needed to be. I didn't keep taking it to her. I felt like I got back to it, you know, when I needed to. I was happy with the outcome.
Q. Did you feel disrupted or unnerved by the men's match going so long?
CHANDA RUBIN: No, not really. You know, you get used to that. You just have to wait. I mean, that's part of the schedule. You never know when the match is going to end. The same thing with us, the women's match following us. That's just part of it. You have to be ready to play regardless. I felt like I was ready to play.
Q. What's the most satisfying part of that match for you?
CHANDA RUBIN: Winning. I felt like at the end when I needed to, I was aggressive. I kept putting pressure on her. I kept coming in. She takes the pace off a lot of shots. Sometimes that's a little bit difficult because I have to generate pace. I'm not sure when to move in or when not to. I felt like, you know, overall I did it pretty well throughout the match.
Q. What was going through your mind being you're an American playing against a player who is not American and having almost all the crowd against you?
CHANDA RUBIN: I didn't feel like the crowd was against me. I felt like when I hit good shots, they were appreciative. I felt like it was a great crowd. Of course, she lives here. I think a lot of people love her down here. That's understandable. She's really done well at this tournament over the years. I felt like when I came out and played well, the crowd was very appreciative. That's a good feeling.
Q. Do you feel like more people in the United States are learning who you are, more people down here learn who you are as the year goes on.
CHANDA RUBIN: Definitely so. I've gotten a little bit more press from some of my previous matches. I've been doing better, having some better results. That certainly puts your name out in the public eye. Definitely when I do well in tournaments in the States, people really recognize me, especially during the tournament, around that area. I think it's definitely --
Q. Along the lines of what he asked about the crowd, did you notice when you were serving for the match, I mean there was like a chant for her to the point where they had to ask them to stop and let you play? Were you aware of it?
CHANDA RUBIN: I heard a few people calling out her name and saying things, but other than that, I really didn't -- I wasn't really aware of it. It didn't really affect me at all. It was more thinking of what I wanted to do, maybe thinking a little bit too much towards the end, really wanting this point, after all I had been through in the second set. I was just focused on playing and being aggressive, playing the point out the way I wanted to play it.
Q. What were you saying on the court? I couldn't hear. You said something about wanting to focus on your serve instead of the score.
CHANDA RUBIN: Yes.
Q. Can you elaborate?
CHANDA RUBIN: That was a big key, especially at 40-15 in that last game. I double-faulted the first point, the second point I missed a forehand. I think I got a little bit tight on it. I didn't hit through the ball. The next couple points, I just wanted to come right back and keep hitting and moving forward and being aggressive, keep that focus instead of thinking about the score.
Q. The match had so many up and downs, breaks back and forth. Even after set point you thought you had it won, the call went her way. Of the matches you've played over the past year and a half or so, tight matches you played, you would have been prepared to win this match under the circumstances you had today?
CHANDA RUBIN: I don't think you're ever prepared for a match to go back and forth, back and forth, really emotional. Towards the end, you know, especially the end of the second and into the third set, a few times I got a little bit discouraged because I missed balls by a little bit, set the points up great, didn't execute the shots properly. I just wanted to keep coming right back and stay in focus and keep trying to win the match, keep trying to play as hard as I could regardless. The match ended up coming in my favor. I deserved it definitely. That was what kind of kept me going into the third set, you know, through all the up and downs.
Q. Are you playing at the same level you were at the Australian?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah. I can't -- it's hard to really compare. I think I actually played her in Australia. I think she played better here. I feel like I'm understanding the game even better than I did in Australia. I'm coming in a little bit better, at the right times. I think I've definitely had some improvements, even from the last month or so. I definitely feel I'm improving, not regressing.
Q. How did you and Marcel get together? Did you go to him? Did he go to you?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, at the end of '93, the guy I had been working with for the past three years wasn't able to travel anymore. I knew Marcel from working with another player on the Tour. He wasn't working with her anymore so it was kind of a good situation for me. I asked him, the coach I was working with at the time also, got with him, asked him if he would be interested in working with me. I thought it was a great idea. Went from there.
Q. How has he helped you?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think he's helped me a lot. I think I've improved fundamentally in my game, a little bit more consistent, understanding the game a little bit better, understanding -- being aggressive, when and why, you know, why I'm doing it. It's just been a really good relationship.
Q. Someone who wins matches like that, normally you're considered being psychologically very strong. At the same time you missed a lot of match points and opportunities. How do you rate yourself from a mental point of view?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think I definitely can get a little bit better mentally. You know, it's great to be able to stick those matches out and win them and battle. I think sometimes it's even tougher just to close out matches. You have top players. I know from experience, too, that I play better when I'm down, and a lot of players do that because they have nothing to lose. I have to keep remembering what got me there, keep that focus, keep going aggressive. I can certainly get better mentally. It's good -- I have improvements to make. I'm still doing well, so that says a lot, I guess.
Q. You mentioned playing against top players. That means to play a match point against a top player is different than to play a match point against someone else?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think a lot of times against top players, you have to go out and win the match, they're not going to give it to you. They're not going to say. She's beat me every other point, I'll give her this last one. They're going to battle to the end. You have to go out and take the match. I've experienced that over the past few tournaments, certainly over the last year, year and a half. I think I'm doing that a lot better, closing out matches in the way right way. Hopefully in the future I won't need that many match points, but it's nice to be able to finally close it out being aggressive.
Q. What would surprise you? Would winning a major tournament like this or a Grand Slam surprise you or would it depend who it was against? Like, would beating Graf surprise you?
CHANDA RUBIN: No. I mean, I really haven't thought that far in the tournament. I certainly think it's possible if I go out and play a good, solid match that I can play with anybody and keep that focus all the way through. I definitely think it's possible. I'm going to have to go out and battle. It's anybody's match.
Q. I know when you guys get in tournaments, all of you say you don't like to look too far ahead. More in general, if I were to tell you you're going to beat Steffi Graf in a Grand Slam final or Monica Seles in a Grand Slam final, would that concept seem surprising?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think definitely at this point I have to start thinking it's possible. I definitely think it is possible. If I go out and play good tennis, I can play with anybody. I've played some matches and I've had some really bad losses, had some really good wins. At any given day, I feel like I can beat anybody. I'm certainly thinking along those lines, regardless if it's Steffi or Monica or whoever. Still you have to go out and play and battle. Everybody is good and can play. Definitely it's in my mind as being a possibility. It would be a pleasant surprise. It's hard to play through a tournament and win it, but it's certainly within my capabilities, I think.
Q. Do you feel like one would be a breakthrough? Like if you were to win one, do you think it makes you that much better?
CHANDA RUBIN: I definitely think it's just another level that I'll move up. It's certainly a goal of mine to win a tournament on the Tour. I have yet to do that. It would be great to win a big one like this. If not, I'm going to come back next week and try to play just as hard. It's always a process, regardless of how I do here. I still have to come back the next week and build on that and keep improving.
Q. Have you always been this confident or is this something that in the last couple years has built up? Have you been always someone who felt pretty sure of what you could do?
CHANDA RUBIN: I've always felt pretty assured of where I wanted to go, how I wanted to get there. It takes a lot of hard work. Over the years I think I've improved and worked harder, certainly gotten more confidence from having the wins I've had over the past year, year and a half on the court. That confidence is certainly huge when you're walking out there against a player. It's been gradual. I've gotten a lot of experience on the Tour. Hopefully getting more confident.
Q. Chanda, was the match at the French last year against Jana Novotna, was that the realization you could play with top girls?
CHANDA RUBIN: The match at the French was certainly a breakthrough for me because it was my first top 10 win. In the past I had opportunities that let slip by. Even that match was kind of sliding away from me, sliding out of my grasp. It was great to win that match and come back from being down, a lot of positives about that that I think carried over to the rest of the year.
Q. Is it still hard for you to play against lower ranked players or do you prefer to have matches against top 10 players?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think it's sometimes tough the first few rounds after tournament for me. It's certainly great to get into the quarters and semis and have shots at the big matches, so to speak. The first matches of the tournament are kind of the stepping stones. If you don't get through those, you never get to the big matches. I think everything is important. Sometimes those first few can be even tougher. It just depends. You always have to be ready to go out and play.
Q. Chanda, you were one of the few players attending the players' party the other night. That means that you are still a little different from the other, let's say, champs or big names in women's tennis, you're still young, you still enjoy life. What kind of explanation do you give to us?
CHANDA RUBIN: I always enjoy going to those when I have the chance, when I have the time, when my schedule permits. It's not always possible. I think for a lot of other players it's not always possible, whether you're still in the tournament or you're not. I always have a great time just kind of hanging out just a little bit, take your mind off of the tennis for just a while and have a good time. I like to have a good time. It's still kind of has to fit into my schedule for the day, for the week. It was possible to go to the party at the Hard Rock, so I said sure, meet a couple friends there, had a great time.
Q. Chanda, since your last win against Gaby in Australia, how do you think she improved in her game for today?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think she hit out on the ball quite a bit better. Certainly I could have capitalized a little bit better on the opportunities that I had, but I think when she needed to, she was aggressive and stayed in the points, made me hit one more shot. That kind of made the difference I think in the second set. I had to come right back and try to be aggressive, but still be consistent. Sometimes that's hard when you're getting a lot of off-pace shots, slices and things like that. I thought she mixed me up pretty well.
Q. What are your experiences with Habsudova and Spirlea?
CHANDA RUBIN: I have played both of them over the past years. I think I've played them both one time years ago. I guess they're going to be new opponents for me because I haven't played them recently.
Q. Do you remember if you won those matches?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think I won those. I think it was a couple tough -- one of them I think was a tough match. I don't know. I know they hit the ball very well and solid from the ground. I'm going to have to hopefully be consistent from the ground and try to get opportunities to come in, so.
Q. Does Habsudova's victory or Sanchez Vicario make you more aware of her when you meet up with her?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think at this point she's still in the tournament, she's playing some good tennis, I'm going to have to go out and play regardless of who it is. I certainly think that she's done well over the past years and maybe I think she's had an injury that kept her out of the game for a little bit. I'm going to have to be able to go out and be ready to play regardless.
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