June 28, 2002
C. RUBIN/T. Panova
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. What happened in the first set? What do you think caused the shakiness?
CHANDA RUBIN: Just I started off missing, and erratic, and I mean the balls are just sitting up there, and I just felt I could hit them (smiling). Unfortunately, they weren't going in. So I had to kind of pull back and really settle myself. She's a dangerous opponent. She gets a lot of balls back. I think she's -- playing her today, she's gotten the most balls back, and I think has been the quickest person I've played in a while. So definitely I had to change my mindset a little bit.
Q. Being able to out-rally her from the baseline, what kind of message does that send to you?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I felt that I should be able to do that. I feel that as long as I'm in the court with my shots, eventually I can overpower a player like her. And, you know, that's what I set out to do, and that's what -- you know, I'm going to be doing when I'm playing well, so...
Q. Nobody's taken a set from you since....
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, right. That's right. I forgot. Okay (smiling).
Q. You were talking a little bit at the French about your recovery from injury. What stage do you think you're at now? Do you still feel anything?
CHANDA RUBIN: I feel healthy. Physically, everything feels good. I mean, you know, the more matches you play, little things you really have to take care of, of yourself, and get to work after every match. And that's what I've been doing. But everything has been going really well. I feel like I can come back the next day and play and the next day after that, and that's what I wanted to work up to when I came back from injury.
Q. And mentally and rhythm-wise, you're better than even before?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, I definitely feel better - and I can improve still a lot more. I mean, there's more things I definitely have to, you know, get better. But it's -- everything I think is just in front of me, and I'm looking forward to that. This is a great opportunity just for me to play and match up against anybody, and I think that's what I'm going to have to do to get where I want to go.
Q. Are the doubles almost a way to just have a good hit?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, it's still competition and you still have to, you know, put points together. It works on the volleys quite a bit because I serve and volley in doubles. And so it gets me moving forward more, and I think that helps my singles as well. And, you know, you want to go and win every match you play - singles or doubles.
Q. Has it been a real disappointment here these last three years? You lost in the first round all three times but you seem to have a decent grass court game.
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, it's been a very big disappointment. I've actually come into the tournament playing well, having played Eastbourne before and played well I think the last three years. So it's really been a bit frustrating to lose first round. But, you know, I just felt coming in to this year that that was in the past. And I'm playing well. I was going to make sure that I got at least out of the first round (laughter).
Q. What's your approach with Serena?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, I haven't really thought about it yet. Just kind of finished this match and gonna go and relax today and rest up. You know, I have tomorrow kind of to really start focusing on it and tomorrow evening. But I think just a bit of the same in terms of my game: just go out and be aggressive. I mean, I have to, you know, attack even more. But I'm going to have to be consistent and match her, you know, match her shot for shot, you know, and points, and just work through, work through the match.
Q. Any difference in the way you approach her to the way you approach Venus?
CHANDA RUBIN: I don't know yet. I haven't thought that deeply. You're way ahead of me (smiling).
Q. During the injuries, what kept you motivated or going?
CHANDA RUBIN: Just getting, you know, getting back to playing. I watched a lot of the tournaments on television and, you know, I always saw myself back playing and back in the thick of things, you know, in the mix, so to speak. So that kept me motivated and just, you know, kept me, you know, focused on building slowly back from the injuries.
Q. Did you ever have any doubts?
CHANDA RUBIN: No. Not -- I mean, once I had the surgery, you know, wasn't ever a real, real doubt I think. Because, you know, I felt pretty positive about everything. I mean, you never really know how something's going to turn out. And when you have an operation, you know, and someone goes in and messes around, you never are totally positive how things are going to be when you're back competing. But I always felt positive about it.
Q. Do you ever have envious or jealous thoughts watching Venus and Serena winning Slams while you're not able to play and do what you can do?
CHANDA RUBIN: No, no, definitely. Because I felt like, you know, it's just a matter of me getting healthy. Of course, you know, the injuries, it's not something you can really help a lot of times and, you know, it's unfortunate. Okay, it's unfair and "Why me?" and all of that. But I never looked at, you know, any other players, you know, playing and felt jealousy about it. I just felt that my time is going to come. If I'm going to get healthy, my time will come. And, you know, the health is -- you know, do everything you can and then you just leave it, you know, leave it to whatever's going to happen.
Q. Were "the sisters" an inspiration to you when you were coming back?
CHANDA RUBIN: Definitely. I mean, I thought it was just great to see them, you know, I mean basically stepping up. And Serena this year, you know, has really stepped up and stepped her game up. I think she's always had the ability. And I'm sure she has felt that as well, and you're just seeing the results of that. Yeah, it is an inspiration. They believe they can do it and that's why they're going out and putting it on the line every day. You have to admire that.
Q. I'd like to ask you about Anna. Her ranking is in the mid 50s or thereabouts. In terms of her game, do you see her coming back, being a Top 10 player? Does she have the game for that or not really?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, she was already Top 10, so obviously, you know, she has the game for it. And she's still one of the most talented players out here - and people tend to forget that. You know, you never know how someone is going to progress and what road they're going to take, especially after being injured. I know that firsthand. But the talent is there. I don't think anybody would deny that.
Q. Do you think she's misunderstood as a person?
CHANDA RUBIN: I think, you know, it would be a little presumptious of me to say , to answer that, because I don't really know. I know her pretty well, and we play doubles now, and you get to know a person better as you kind of interact with them more. And we've always had a good relationship. You know, but her life is very different from mine, so... (smiling).
Q. If I could put it a different way, how is Anna as a person?
CHANDA RUBIN: I've always enjoyed her. I mean, we've practiced together numerous times and we actually -- hadn't actually played together but we played against each other. You know, you go out, you compete. I have a lot of respect for her talent and, you know, for her game. She's always a person where you have to go out and have your game, you know, to beat her. So that's really all I take it as. I take face value. And, you know, that works.
Q. Did your father ever try to steer you into a legal career?
CHANDA RUBIN: No.
Q. Was he one of those dads that was "Whatever you want to do is what you want to do"?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah. I think he was more into tennis (laughter). He still plays every day. Sometimes he was playing more than me. So, you know, I had to kind of get myself going to match him. But he's always enjoyed the game. My whole family's always enjoyed the game. They encourage me to do what I wanted to do and follow that and, you know, wasn't ever any kind of tug or anything like that.
Q. Did you feel an inclination to teach?
CHANDA RUBIN: I did for a little while when I was younger. I went and spent some time with my mom when she went to work a few times, you know, Career Day and all that. And I did for a minute, and then I realized how hard it is. So no (smiling). So, you know, I'm doing what I want to be doing definitely.
Q. Did you ever watch your dad swing the gavel?
CHANDA RUBIN: Once or twice, but it was boring. It was boring, yeah.
Q. What kind of a judge is he, tough or soft?
CHANDA RUBIN: Yeah, tough. No, no, he's tough.
Q. Tougher than he is at home?
CHANDA RUBIN: Probably about the same. No, maybe a little bit tougher. You know, he has his courtroom demeanor for sure.
Q. You had that amazing match with Aranxta at the Australian Open. Is that the highest level you were ever at, do you think? Have you been able to get back to that?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, ranking-wise, yes. And I think at that period of time, yes, it was definitely, you know, the highest level that I had been playing -- that I played at. And, you know, you have to in order to break into the Top 10 and, you know, get solidly into the Top 10. But I feel now I'm actually, you know, a better player. And, you know, overall I feel that I'm playing better. I understand the game a lot more. And, you know, just a bit more thoughtful out there and, you know, still trying to be aggressive and still trying to have that game that I came out with and that I've always -- the way that I've always loved to play, which is, you know, hitting the ball, but kind of tempered a little bit when you need to. I feel I'm doing that better and better.
Q. You hit the ball great off the forehand side. What about your movement, do you feel it's at 100 percent right now or do you think you have a ways to go on that?
CHANDA RUBIN: I actually think my movement is really good. I mean, definitely, you know, I can continue to work on more on my fitness and get quicker. You know, that's always been a priority to me, is to really train off the court when you have the time. But overall, I think my movement is good. I feel comfortable on the court. And, you know, I feel pretty quick when I'm seeing the ball. I think the biggest thing is my eyes at this point. So when that's working, you know, my movement's there.
Q. (Question regarding volleying.)
CHANDA RUBIN: Not too bad. I could hit a few more next time.
Q. Your game with Venus at the French Open, what have you taken from that, lessons you've learned from that match?
CHANDA RUBIN: Well, it was a match where, you know, you have a few opportunities, you know, to really keep the pressure there and, you know, to really, you know, set the stage to sort of get on top. I didn't take advantage of those opportunities. That's something I'm going to have to take advantage of, you know, in the next match. And that's what I got from playing.
Q. Women's tennis is often not about tennis; it's on personality, looks, in terms of the way it's marketed and talked about in the world. You had a chance to be away from the game now. How do you view that now? Do you view it differently? Do you think it's as it should be? Did you want to do anything differently when you came back to play full-time?
CHANDA RUBIN: Personally, there wasn't anything that I would have said I would do differently or things like that. I think in terms of the game, how it's marketed, I think it's just a microcosm of, you know, people in general, society in general. I mean, you know, looks are there, you know. People focus on that. You see that on the cover of magazines. And, you know, the whole sex appeal, and, you know, that is what people focus on a lot of times. And so you can't expect tennis to be any different. But definitely for me, it was about coming out and really having my game speak for itself and everything else, you know, whatever comes from that will or won't come, that's fine. But it's just having the tennis speak for itself. I think for the most part, that's how as athletes we approach it. And, you know, it's the best way.
Q. You don't see it as more of a circus when you're on the outside looking in?
CHANDA RUBIN: Sometimes, definitely. It definitely can be. But I think it's up to the individual to dictate how they want their surroundings to go, how they want that to be. And, you know, how they want to pursue, you know, their craft. And everybody's a little bit different. Some people like a little more the show, and that's okay. Some people like to just go about their business and not have any of that extra stuff, and that's okay too. It's just individuals. It kind of makes it more interesting.
End of FastScripts….