J. CAPRIATI/C. Rubin 6-2, 6-4
An interview with CHANDA RUBIN
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. It seemed like it took you a while to get into the match. Once you did, you're right there. Is that how you saw it?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, I started off a little bit slow. I mean, I had some opportunities early on in the first set, then, you know, just making a few too many errors and letting her force me a little too much. I definitely got back into the match in the second set, of course, got up a break. You know, was right there. Still just was a little bit short on some big points, wasn't quite as solid as she was. She was hitting the ball really well today. Just wasn't quite as solid off the ground. My attacking game was working really well, but I just wasn't able to impose it enough when I was making errors from the ground, so...
Q. You changed your game in the second set, went to the net more?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I definitely had to. You know, I would have liked to have hit the ball just a little bit better off the ground and match her a little bit better there. As I said, she was hitting the ball really solidly. Sometimes you have to sort of go with a changeup, not really plan B, because I planned to mix in my attacking game. But I felt like I had to do a lot more to really get into it.
Q. Her forehand was particularly brutal today. How did you feel about it? At times, it seemed like you went there when you might have had other options?
CHANDA RUBIN: I mean, her backhand is really solid, you know. I think, bread and butter shot for her. She happened to hit her forehand really well today and, you know, wasn't many places I could go. I think I just needed to pressure her a little bit more, be a little more solid early in the points, then really pressure her more by getting in, attacking, using the volleys. You know, it's a high-tempo game that I needed to play a few times, that there were a few times in the match where it was just lagging a little bit, had some long rallies, real physical way to play. But that's what I have to be able to do and sustain throughout a match from start to finish.
Q. How would you assess how she's playing right now? January was tough for her. She's come back. She said she thought today was probably her best match in a long time?
CHANDA RUBIN: I felt like she played a really, really good match compared to other matches I've seen or parts of other matches I've seen from her this week. She was on the ball. She didn't make a lot of errors. There were times where, you know, she would give a few up, but, yeah, I thought she played a really solid, solid match. She basically will come out and hit the ball from the ground that, I knew that coming into it. I'm a little bit disappointed I didn't play better and wasn't able to raise my game where it needed to be.
Q. Do you feel sometimes she hits the ball so hard the linesmen don't see it?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, well, it's tough, but they're coming really fast sometimes. You know, it's -- just got to be ready, you know. A couple calls here and there, you know, you'd like to think it doesn't make or break a match, but sometimes it's at a really tough time.
Q. You double-faulted on the next play, I think, made it 5-3. Did that affect you at all, that baseline call, mentally, maybe?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I don't think it affected me so much. I mean, she came up, I think the next point, with a really good pass. That was really a tough point, I think, at deuce. You know, just, you know, I didn't quite have it where I needed to have it, and, you know, had some really good opportunities there, I had some good moments where I had a chance just to keep it even and keep it tight, until I could kind of get my nose ahead, and I didn't do it well enough today.
Q. What would be your scouting report on the final tomorrow, Capriati and Serena? How would you see that match?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I think they've had some really good matches in the past that I've seen. Both hitting the ball. You know, I think Serena, you know, would probably want to play a little bit better than she played yesterday. But with that being said, I think it will be a really, really tough match if they both come out playing well, both come out hitting the ball. You'd like to give the edge to Serena, she's confident and hasn't lost a match this year and Jennifer hasn't beaten her, I think, in the last few times they've played, even though they've had some tough matches. But you never know. Who knows? It's not me, so I'm just gonna watch it (smiling).
Q. Talk more about yourself. You're one of the few players that actually did beat Serena. Looking at your future, you're in what they would call "the mid-life of tennis," I've never seen you play better. Do you feel that much -- do you feel your window of opportunity for winning a Grand Slam or beating the Williamses is getting more narrow?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, you never know. I try not to think of it in terms of that. I mean, I definitely feel I have fewer opportunities now than I've had earlier in my career, of course. But I feel like I'm playing some of my best tennis. This is the time where I can really take advantage of it, and where I have all the tools and, you know, mentally and physically, to be able to take advantage the way I didn't have before. So, you know, I feel really good and confident about that. These type of situations, where I feel like it's an opportunity lost, it's tough. Really disappointing. That part, I think is a little more disappointing now. But you just got to come back. I feel like, you know, I really try to concentrate and work on positive things every time I go out into a tournament. I feel more consistent out there, and I feel like I'm giving myself better opportunities like this than I have a lot of other times. So, you know, I just have to go with that and come back, you know, the next week.
We've got three Grand Slams left. Those are really the big stages that you want to play well at. So if I get something from this match and from this week, that will propel me in those tournaments, I'll be smiling.
Q. Did you notice a difference in Jennifer? Jennifer said she's even tried, and we've noticed in interviews, she's trying to be more relaxed and not as uptight. Did you notice a difference in her demeanor or anything on the court?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I think definitely you want to come out relaxed. The semifinals of a tournament, she had a tough match the round before, she was able to win that. So I think, you know, from that match, going into here, she definitely felt a little more relaxed and tried to project that. You know, that's the way you want to come out and play. Any time you're in the last few rounds of a week where, you know, you found your form and you just want to keep riding it, so that's definitely the way to go.
Q. What about personally, have you been around her enough to notice a change there?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I mean, we've practiced a few times this week, couple of times. You know, other than that, you know, just around the locker room. I can't say I notice a big change or that I was really looking for it, so it's tough for me to say.
Q. You guys practice together at Saddlebrook?
CHANDA RUBIN: We do. We have occasionally, yes.
Q. This year?
CHANDA RUBIN: I don't know if we did this year.
Q. Did you play with a lot of different doubles partners this year? Will you play with one in particular this year?
CHANDA RUBIN: I don't have any plans yet. I don't have any one particular partner. I haven't played as much doubles so far this year, I've just been trying to focus on the singles and keep myself healthy for that.
Q. You've become quite a hero for quite a few people. The wheelchair tennis people tell me how much money you've given to their cause, the inner-city kids. You come from Louisiana. Your dad is both black and Jewish?
CHANDA RUBIN: We have a Jewish last name, but we're not really Jewish in terms of... Yeah.
Q. Your dad is Jewish but...
CHANDA RUBIN: I don't know where the name so we've been trying to follow the family true. You know, I mean, in terms of being Jewish, I don't really have any reference for that. But they always encourage me just early on to give back, and certain causes that I really felt were worthwhile and at this point, it's just things that I feel personally that, you know, I just want to give some time to and it's not quite as much as maybe it used to be, but, you know, I definitely feel, you know, just a certain affiliation for certain people, just in terms of tennis and trying to give back, trying to encourage kids, introduce kids to tennis. I mean, I've gotten a lot from the game. I think it's just important to put it out there when you can. At the same time, I'm still trying to follow my career and really focus on that. Hopefully, that's an example as well. You know, I mean, you can do anything if you believe in it and that's just what I try to get across, regardless of what situation I'm helping or I'm going into.
Q. You had a great run here. Do you feel your game is where you need it to be?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I feel like I definitely have gotten a lot from this tournament, from this week and a half. You know, I've played some really good matches. I really built from the first round, and, you know, that's what I want to do. That's what I have to be able to do, especially going into a Grand Slam. This is not quite a two-week event, but it's pretty close. These are the type of matches I'll have to play and win to get over that hump and over that level to be in the semis, finals of Grand Slams. I feel like I got a lot from this week.
Q. In a situation like we had last night, where you're waiting and waiting, waiting and waiting, and you have to go and get yourself back up again, how do you deal with that emotionally? What do you do with your time?
CHANDA RUBIN: It's just part of the game. You've got rain delays that happen. You try to just remain focused until it's time to either pull the plug and come back the next day and, you know, you just try to prepare the same way, you know, get some rest and get back out at the courts, get a good warm-up and just start it all over again. There's nothing really scientific about it.
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