The Tennis Channel commentator and retired tennis pro played in the French Open quarterfinals three times during her career

By Lindsay Kimble
June 01, 2021 01:24 PM
Chanda Rubin French Open
Chanda Rubin
| Credit: Fred Mullane/camerawork, usa

Chanda Rubin knows the feeling of being on the court at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris — and now, she's watching other tennis players experience it.

The 45-year-old Tennis Channel commentator and retired pro player tells PEOPLE that she has fond memories of the "dream come true" of playing at the annual Grand Slam tournament. Rubin, who had a WTA career-high ranking of No. 6, made it to the French Open quarterfinals three times.

"I always felt that playing tennis at the highest levels on the biggest Grand Slam stages was a dream come true," she explains. "Because it meant so much to me, I knew that feeling the pressure of wanting to win and do well was part of it. That pressure and desire pushed me to train hard and work to improve and I always embraced that aspect and used it as motivation."

That stage was made even more special by the French Open's backdrop of Paris, which Rubin calls "one of the most picturesque and romantic cities."

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"There is often suffering that comes with winning extended points on red clay and this, along with its place in history makes the French Open a coveted trophy," she tells PEOPLE.

Chanda Rubin French Open
Bret Haber and (right) Chanda Rubin
| Credit: Fred Mullane/camerawork, usa

Rubin also reflects fondly on one of her favorite memories from playing in the Open, citing her first time making it to the Grand Slam quarterfinal. The former athlete had rented an apartment overlooking the Seine river and spent time with her mother cooking their favorite meals from back home in Louisiana.

"On the way to that quarterfinal, I had my first win against a top-five player by coming back from 5-0, 40-love down in the third set to win on a packed stadium court," she says. "The feeling was incredible and it was a time that I'll never forget."

Now, she's excited to watch the next generation of tennis stars succeed in the tournament, which is currently in its first round.

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She tells PEOPLE, "There is also an exciting group of dynamic young players who have become champions in their own right and are looking to make a name for themselves by beating these all-time greats on the red clay. There are so many reasons to tune into the excitement of this year's tournament."

Rubin specifically has her eye on Poland's Iga Swiatek, who has already secured her spot in the Open's second round: "She's returning to Paris with a big lead-up title and more confidence, and could become a back-to-back champion with an unprecedented short window between last year's October event and this year's regular May/June schedule."

She also says viewers can expect greatness from players like Victoria Kudermetova, Jessica Pegula, Aslan Karatsev, and Jannik Sinner.

Tune in to Tennis Channel for continued coverage of the French Open, May 30th through June 13th.