It’s been more than 35 years since Ronald Reagan stated, during his first inaugural address, “Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.” We discovered heroes in every state, starting with the determined 69-year-old who won a match at an ITF Pro Circuit event earlier this year in the Alabama town of Pelham, and culminating with the coach who has overcome multiple sclerosis to build a winning program at the University of Wyoming. Their compelling stories of courage, perseverance and achievement demonstrate that the message delivered by our 40th President rings as true today as it did then.
Chanda Rubin, 40, remembers the less-than-promising early discussions about the feasibility and cost of installing a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. As a Director at Large for the USTA board of directors, the former world No. 6 was on the front lines as rain delays hijacked U.S. Open headlines year after year.
“We were told it could not be done,” Rubin says, “but with continuing innovation, we didn’t ever have to say we couldn’t do it. The USTA staff was great at continuing to look at options. The most basic thing you can do is not give up.”
Rubin has employed that mentality from the time she first started hitting tennis balls in her parents’ backyard court in Lafayette, LA. While injuries interrupted and ultimately ended her 16-year pro career—highlighted by seven WTA singles titles, an Australian Open semifinal appearance and a Top 10 doubles ranking—Rubin never dwelled on what could have been. Instead, she pushed herself beyond her comfort zone.