Venus and the best on planet hold no fears for Rubin

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 January, 2004, 12:00am

Chanda Rubin kicks off the new year with a daunting clash against fellow-American and former world number one Venus Williams and she is itching for the challenge.

Rubin, one of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour in recent years, has no qualms about taking on the four-time Grand Slam winner in this week's Watsons Water Champions Challenge at Victoria Park, saying she has the game and temperament to beat the best in the world.

'It's a great match to have starting out,' she said of Friday's clash. 'I'll try to work hard with practice leading up to it.

'It's a good week for me to have,' said the ninth-ranked Rubin, a late replacement for Jennifer Capriati after the latter withdrew with an injury.

'I want to work on my serve and my attacking skills. I am going to approach it like it was any other match.'

Rubin, on her third visit to Hong Kong, said the event was a good way to start the year and prepare for the Australian Open.

'It's a really relaxed event, but you get really good competition. It's really a great stop before going to Australia to get the year started,' she said.

'You have good players here and you have good matches and it's an opportunity to work on the things you need to work on, and the things you need to improve throughout the year.

'I've enjoyed coming here during the past couple of years. One of the years was a bit difficult with injury [2002], but the organisers have always been excellent and treated us well, making sure we had everything we need.'

A winner of seven WTA Tour singles titles and 10 doubles title, Rubin reached her highest career ranking of six in 1996. And with career wins over power-hitters such as Capriati and Serena Williams, Rubin feels her best days are still ahead of her, emphasising she will not just be in Australia to make up the numbers.

In response to a question as to who would dominate this year's proceedings in Melbourne, she declared: 'I'm also one of the players there! It's important to get the matches in and try to raise your level and be playing as well as you can as soon as possible. And who can tell who will be standing at the end of the Australian Open. But hopefully I will get a good shot,' said the American who reached the fourth round last time.