“We’ve all had our experiences and I have certainly had mine as well.” Tennis legend Chanda Rubin has opened up about racism in the sport and how the Black Lives Matter movement has been “tremendously gratifying” for her.
With the likes of F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to name just a few sporting stars displaying their solidarity with the movement, Rubin says she has been overwhelmed seeing the support grow.
The American, who won several WTA Tour singles titles as well as reaching a career-high No 6 in the world, says watching so many people rally around for Black Lives Matter around the globe has been emotional and inspiring.
Chanda Rubin on Black Lives Matter
“For me it has been tremendously gratifying to see all of the support around the world,” Rubin said. “To see so many people who have been impacted and we’ve known this, it’s not singular to the United States but to see others standing up in solidarity at the same time in the numbers that we’re seeing it and it’s continuing.
“It is a clear effort to move the dial forward on a worldwide level and it has been on the most phenomenal things for me to see. You look back at the history, some of the protests that have occurred during the civil rights movement here in the US, trying to gain equal rights, trying to gain the right to vote – some of the basic things we take for granted a little bit today.
“But you saw what it took for those things to gets passed, the sacrifices people made in protesting, trying to protest peacefully, sometimes not being able and having to just deal with the violence that was directed at the movement.
“You see all of those images and some of those pictures and to be in the midst of it now and seeing it live, it’s been incredible. It is very inspiring and hopefully I can continue to help in any way I can. It’s easy to feel there’s not a lot you can do individually, but I think we just have to keep fighting those battles, fighting the good fight and enlisting others to join in and that’s the only way to move the dial forward.”
Rubin on how she was shielded from racism in tennis
Rubin’s best Grand Slam singles result was in 1996 when she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open. World No 1 Monica Seles ended her hopes that day, although the Louisiana native did win the women’s doubles title alongside Spain’s Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in Melbourne that year.
Despite being one of tennis’ most well-known faces at the time, Rubin revealed there were times when organisers failed to notice who she was.
Rubin, now 44, admits she has suffered some forms of racial discrimination off the court, but she has praised her parents for “shielding” her from the worst of it.
“We’ve all had our experiences and I have certainly had mine as well. Some of it off court and just in the course of daily life, at school you have incidents that happen and certainly for me growing up in the south there’s always been a little bit of that element that you see in just how you’re operating,” Rubin said.
“In tennis, it manifested more in terms of the bias maybe, for lack of a better word, walking up to the event and people not knowing me and thinking I wasn’t the player who was at the top of the seeding and being shocked, being surprised by that.
“Maybe not giving me my just due when it came to creating draws and things of that nature. But for me, and my parents were really good about this, they tried to kind of shield me from it and just accept whatever happens. Just go out, do what you need to do, play and let your racket speak for itself. Conduct yourself in a certain way and that’s one of the things that I’ve learnt to appreciate most about tennis because on the court it’s up to you and no one can really dictate based on their biases.”
Rubin says life as a tennis player can be a lot tougher these days, especially with social media playing a big part in people’s lives.
She added: “It can be tough, and I think now in the day and age that we’re in with social media, it’s hard for some of these younger players and they’re getting comments made, they’re getting bullied, they’re getting talked about. Some of the things we would hear just in person on occasion, they’re getting it on social media over and over again and it’s horrible.
“I’m very understanding of that. I certainly hope that people can become more tolerant and this time period will at least help. Sometimes you think that nothing is really going to change when you see so much hatred that is underlined, that comes out in these moments, but we just do what we have to do individually.
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