THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1998
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
March 19, 1998
C. RUBIN/L. Nemeckova
An interview with
Q. This tournament means something special to you because a few years back, '96, you reached the Finals against Steffi. I think that is when your career rank was 6th. Then, boom, you had your hand problems.
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, definitely. I started off with a good year in 1996, and '95 kind of started it off. So it was a really good feeling coming here and getting to the Finals after only playing for a few years. But the injury did happen pretty soon --
Q. Didn't happen here, though?
CHANDA RUBIN: I have no idea where exactly it happened. But just kind of one of those things that came at a bad time. But I don't think injury ever comes at a good time. So I had to kind of regroup and learn from it.
Q. Last year you also had a pretty good tournament, four rounds, I guess, and then a tough tiebreaker?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, it was disappointing last year. I was playing pretty good tennis. I felt like I was getting back into match play and fought through a couple of tough matches, and the round of 16, ended up losing that one.
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah. So it was a really close match. I had some matchpoints. Just disappointing to go through that. But it happens.
Q. Seems like this tournament almost is like your turning point every year. How about this year, bring us to the present, where are you at in your game? Last week you had some nice matches against Kournikova?
CHANDA RUBIN: I feel like I have been hitting the ball well the last month or so, last few weeks. And playing Indian Wells I felt like I really played some solid tennis. Mentally I think I can definitely improve. And that is where the biggest improvement is going to come from in the next few tournaments and going into Europe. And I feel good, though, about my game, and I am looking forward to just competing well this week and seeing where that takes me. It is one week at a time for me.
Q. When you were in the Top-10 before the injury, what is missing in your game today that you had then?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, right now I think just now getting back into just hitting the ball well and playing solid. I think the last -- I've had some ups and downs in the last year. Started off playing pretty good tennis and had some tough matches in there. Up until I guess Europe of last year. I was always losing to Top-10 players. I just hadn't had that breakthrough after the injury. So, I think now it is just getting back to basics and competing well. I think I am doing that and playing a lot better and feel pretty good right now about playing.
Q. You were in Martina's side. Has it changed since the --
CHANDA RUBIN: I am still there.
Q. You are going to play her next?
CHANDA RUBIN: I believe so.
Q. Talk about that and, I mean, pretty dangerous floater.
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, I mean, for me, I am just trying to look at it as another match; to go out and compete hard in. Of course, she is the No. 1 player in the world, so, I mean, for me it is -- I am just going to go out and play and try to let my shots flow, and just pay attention to the ball and nothing else. And I think if I do that and I come out aggressively we will have a good match and I will have some chances. But, win or lose, I want to take something good away from that match. So in order to do that I definitely want to be aggressive and try to take control of the points, not let her dictate, because then she is awfully tough when she is doing that.
Q. Some players, when they get that close to the top of their tennis and they have a fall through, whatever reason, they don't get back up as quickly as they want to. It could be an emotional thing. Has it been emotional for you?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, I think every player is different. If you have been through an injury, I am sure it was tough for you. It is tough for everybody. For me, I am just trying to get back into playing and competing and doing what I enjoy. This is still just a game, and regardless of where I end up, I want to look back and say I gave it everything I had. That is what I did before and during, that is what I want to continue to do.
Q. Why did you make a change from Marcel --
CHANDA RUBIN: It was just time to change. It was a mutual agreement, and we just parted ways. So, started working with Ashley, who I have worked with for years. And even through working with Marcel, still involved with him, so --
Q. A lot of players seem to be going back to original coaches. Is there, like, a comfort zone for them?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think a lot of times there is. Once you know someone for such a long time, you know, you have a good relationship, and sometimes it is good to take a break, and you realize, you go back to that person and, you know, do it again. So, I think it is definitely when the relationship is good it is a comfort zone, and also a person who knows your game.
Q. Is the biggest difference between you and, say, Martina now confidence?
CHANDA RUBIN: For me, right now, it has definitely been confidence. She is very confident and is winning events, and I am not even quite close to that point. But I feel like I am getting the confidence back. And all it takes is one match. And you just have to keep plugging away at it, and that is what I am going to keep doing.
Q. Who is your favorite tennis player growing up, male or female, and why?
CHANDA RUBIN: I always liked watching Ivan Lendl. He was pretty even-mannered on the court. He never really got emotional. He had kind of a dry sense of humor. I always liked when he got upset with the umpires, because he would always make some kind of sarcastic remark. You could tell he was upset. But he wouldn't throw his racket or anything. He was always pretty calm. It was the dry sense of humor. He was solid.
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