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Rubin and Davenport reminisce on Instagram Live
Published Feb 13, 2021
This week on Tennis Channel's Instagram, Chanda Rubin and Lindsay Davenport reunited 25 years after meeting in the Australian Open doubles final. Viewers got an inside look at the Tennis Channel studio in Los Angeles while hearing two living legends, and great friends, catch up.
Here are five takeaways from their Instagram Live:
Rubin beat Davenport in the final of the 2002 JP Morgan Chase WTA event in Los Angeles. (Getty)
Rubin and Davenport were good friends long before their '96 final in Melbourne. They grew up playing the junior circuit together and crossed paths many times. On the singles court, the Americans faced off seven times on tour (Davenport won six of the encounters). When they played each other in the '96 doubles final they were just 19 years old.
The 1996 Australian Open was the only major Seles won after being stabbed while on court in Hamburg in 1993. (Getty)
In Melbourne '96, Rubin enjoyed her career-best run in singles by reaching the semifinals. She'd lose, 6-7 (2), 6-1, 7-5, to eventual champion Monica Seles, who was making a triumphant comeback from a 1993 stabbing incident.
"It was a big moment for me just walking onto the court against her," Rubin said. "I've been seeing her on TV and how big she hits the ball, and I didn't even know if I could hang to be honest. And I ended up going three sets, but it was amazing. I don't like to think about the fact that I was up 5-2 in the third."
The 1996 Australian Open title was Rubin's first doubles major, and Vicario's sixth. (Getty)
Rubin played the doubles event with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, while Davenport was teamed up with Mary Joe Fernandez. Davenport and Fernandez opened with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Maja Muric and Dominique van Roost (née Monami). That first win doesn't seem memorable, but it was:
"So we get out on the court and there was a great, great player from Belgium, Dominique Monami, and we were playing Muric and Van Roost," Davenport said. "So, we get out on the court, and all of a sudden, Mary Joe looks at me and goes, 'That's Dominique Monami. What's she doing on the court?' And Mary Joe walks up to her and said like, 'What are you doing here?' And she said, 'Oh, I got married. And my last name is Van Roost now.'
"And Mary Joe walks over like, 'Great. We're going to get chopped.'"
Davenport topped Vicario in the gold-medal match while Jana Novotna won the bronze over Mary Joe Fernandez. (Getty)
That Olympic games in Atlanta were also that summer. Rubin made the U.S. team with Seles, Davenport, Fernandez, Gigi Fernandez, and Jennifer Capriati, but didn't end up competing due to a wrist injury. Davenport would win the gold medal in singles over none other than Sanchez Vicario, while Fernandez and Fernandez won the doubles gold.
"We'd go into the village and there were all these other athletes that you were like, 'Oh, they're the gymnast, and they're the swimmers, and this is amazing,'" Davenport said. "No one really cares what happens in the tennis, and so, I always was like, 'I want to go play my match and get back to the village.'
"We were 20 years old. I always wondered what it would have been like to go to college."
Later in their careers, both Rubin and Davenport struggled with knee injuries and accidentally encountered one another at a specialist's clinic in Colorado in 2002.
"I came out of surgery, and the next day I went to rehab or physical therapy, and you were there," Davenport said. "I was like, 'What are you doing here?' We didn't have cell phones back then, so it wasn't as easy to keep tabs on your friends, and there we are in Vail."
Davenport would win three Grand Slams and peak at No. 1 in the world before officially retiring in 2010 while Rubin picked up seven WTA titles and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 6 before calling it a career in 2006.