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August 11, 1998

Michael Chang


ATP TOUR REP: Michael, plays tomorrow at three o'clock against Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the second round.

Q. How are you feeling now?

MICHAEL CHANG: I'm feeling better. I'm think that maybe I didn't prepare quite as well as I should have. I think it was a little bit warmer today than it has been, a little more humid. And at the beginning of the match I was doing pretty good and today's trying to run me around a little bit more and I started to, you know, just feel it a little bit. So I knew it was important after the match to just get of the court, get as cold as a shower as I could take just to get my body temperature down. Otherwise, I think I probably would have had a few more problems. But I think I'm okay now.

Q. How bad were you feeling?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was feeling okay. I think that just through past experience, I know that the situations -- the things that go on the with my own body as far as some of the symptoms, some of the signs. I think that when start to see those and recognize those, you know, obviously from experience, I'm try to take the necessary precautions that I need to take in order to recuperate or be able to open cope with it out there. So I don't anticipate tomorrow being a problem because today was a very good wake-up call.

Q. (inaudible) something that happens to you or maybe not other people?

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually, it does happen to everybody. Some players I think maybe are able to cope with it a little bit better than other players. Other players, you know, I think earns a little bit different but at one time or another everyone duffers from the heat. You know, I think that it's just a matter of taking the precautionary measures and I think as long as I do that diligently, not take it for granted, I'll be okay.

Q. Is there anything you could have done better?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think for one I probably could have eaten a little bit better, probably could have, you know, hydrated myself a little bit better. So I should know better than that. But yeah, yesterday wasn't something that I was, you know, totally focusing on.

Q. Do the French constantly remind the players --

MICHAEL CHANG: No, they do. They are constantly reminding the players and encouraging them to take their minerals and continue to drink and stuff like that. They will post up signs in the locker room telling the guys to -- you know, make sure that they are hydrated and loading up on the fluids before they are going out. Because the last thing they want to see is guys coming in needing an IV, and believe me that's happened on more than a few occasions here in Cincinnati. So nobody likes to be in that situation. None of the trainers like to see any of the players try to deal with that or go through that.

Q. How close were you to an IV?

MICHAEL CHANGE: I don't think I was that close. In fact, I've never had an IV. I think back actually when I used to have severe cramping problems earlier in my career, they -- I don't think the tour really had IVs. It's not something that they needed to deal with all that much. So basically I will to do it the hard way, just walk around really stiff and stiff-legged because my back was cramped up or my hands and my arms were cramped up and I would just be drinking or walking for two hours until it finally subsided. So now guys are able to get the IV within like 20 minutes to a half hour and they are okay.

Q. (Inaudible).

MICHAEL CHANG: The IV? I don't know, actually. I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell you. But I could tell that you during the summertime, you're probably going to see more than at any other time in the year just because in the states it's hot.

Q. Could you talk about when and how it started creeping up today?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think it was something that, you know, totally -- totally hit me or anything like that. These things are really kind of a gradual thing. You know, I think that, like I said, I think a lot of it was preparation. I didn't prepare as well as I should have. And sometimes you take it for granted. I've been trying to concentrate and focus upon getting my wrist better and maybe that's something I've neglected on the other side. So I think that I should just try and take care of the things that I need to take care of and maybe that's something that kind of slipped my mind a little bit.

Q. How was your wrist today?

MICHAEL CHANG: My wrist was pretty good actually. It was pretty good. I'm quite pleased with the way that it was today. It's been an ongoing problem for the past three months or so. I've had to miss -- I've had to miss a few tournaments because of it and struggled through, so it's something that I'm continuing to treat diligently and hoping that, you know with a lot of treatment and a lot of prayer it will be gone soon. Before the Open it would be nice.

Q. I'm not trying to rush you through this week but are you considering next week?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, it's not on my schedule to play next week.

Q. You're definitely not considering it?

MICHAEL CHANG: Not at this time. I do wish that -- I do wish one day that I'll be able to go out and play Indy. I hear some great things about that tournament. I think I'm the only guy in the top 1000 that hasn't played Indy. (laughter).

Q. (inaudible).

MICHAEL CHANG: New Haven's a great tournament. I've been very loyal to New Haven and Straten Mountain for many, many years. So definitely, I mean both events are great but I've never had the opportunity to go to Indy. So maybe one of these -- one of these days. I know Jim does a great job over there in New Haven. So I've enjoyed that tournament.

Q. Michael, in the third set in the match, when you're feeling some of this coming on, is it hard to be patient or do you just want the thing to be over with?

MICHAEL CHANG: Sometimes it is. But I think in my nature I know that my style is being patient. I know that if I'm out there playing a match where I'm playing impatient tennis and just going for any shot that I have, I know I'm going to come up short because that's not my style of play, unless I'm absolutely forced to do it and absolutely no choice. But I think that today I was trying to, you know, definitely be patient. Didn't want to give today any free points because he definitely started to play a lot better tennis from the middle of the second set on. So I just didn't want to give him any free points after there.

Q. So it just kind of hit afterwards?

MICHAEL CHANG: More or less. I think probably sometimes when you're out there, you're running, maybe you don't feel it as much but then sometimes when you come back in and you have the air conditioner and you're cooling off and sometimes your body just gets stiff because it's not moving anymore. That's when it's -- that's what it can cause some problems. So I'm making sure that when I come off the court that I'm getting my body temperature down, I'm drinking and walking at the same time. I've had very bad experiences when I come in from a match and I sat down either to get some ice done or to do some interviews and stuff like in an and I've gotten up off that chair and within five to ten minutes and my whole body just starts going into severe cramps. Hence, that's why I'm standing. Everyone's a little bit different but I know the way my body works.

Q. How much water will you drink tomorrow morning?

MICHAEL CHANG: Lots. There might be a drought here in since Cincinnati. (laughter).

Q. Have you heard from Tom in Milwaukee?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I saw him earlier today, just said hello. I read through the Internet as far as how Andre feels about Milwaukee but Tom hasn't mentioned anything at this point in time. It's something I'm not thinking about to be honest with you because I would like to be able to first of all go out and get healthy. That's been my thing this year and I told Tom actually from the beginning of the year, you know, I'd like to be able to get back to where I was and you know, unfortunately this years been really plagued with some serious injuries that have really hurt my play and my rank and my ability to go out and play the tournaments that I'd like to play. So first thing's first and take things step by step.

Q. Would you consider it?

MICHAEL CHANG: Oh, definitely, always consider it. Always consider it. But I think it's something that, you know, I'll have to look at my condition. And take things from there.

Q. How do you feel about changing the rankings? I'm just wondering where you come in on that. Do you like the idea of starting from the beginning of the year?

MICHAEL CHANG: To be honest with you, I don't. That's why -- that's why to be honest with you, I'm shooting next year, really, to make it a serious goal to finish that year -- to finish the year No. 1. The reason I say that is because I feel like in certain regards, the ranking is going to be a little bit -- a little bit misinterpreted if it's done in a race format. I think the ATP will still be able to tell you who's No. 1 because they have to be able to make the seedings and the draw based upon the rankings that are behind closed doors, so to speak. But I think that tennis is a very unique situation and I can understand the way the Tour is going to possibly change the format in the tournaments and the rankings and to make it a little bit more dramatic toward the end of the year. But I think it's something that's, you know, given a choice I would prefer to have the rankings the way -- the way that they are, to be able to find some better solution. I know some people aren't so happy with the best 14. But just to be able to know week in and week out, who's the best and who's not.

Q. I guess some of the players are just upset -- I don't know if "upset" is the right word to use -- but the way Marcelo has just come in and taken over and he hasn't won a Grand Slam. Where do you fall on that?

MICHAEL CHANG: To be honest with you, I'm not going to take anything away from Marcelo. I can understand really from both point of views as far as not winning a grand Slam and being No. 1. I think to the general public, I think that it is a little bit odd. But I think that when you're able to look at some of the other tournaments, you know, and not only his Grand Slam performances, like the Australian Open, but his Super 9 tournaments s and some of the other tournaments, he has been exceptionally well. I'm not going to take away any credit from him as far as becoming No. 1 because that is not something that anyone can do. And to be honest with you if you're not winning Grand Slam tournaments, you'd better be winning everything else in order to get there. So I think all credit is due, but I understand where both parties are coming from.

Q. As tough as it is to get to No. 1, does that make Pete Sampras' achievement even more remarkable, the longevity at No. 1?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think in many regards, it does. I think that do be able to finish the year -- so many consecutive years to be No. 1, is not an easy thing to do. You know, you can ask anyone. It's not an easy thing to do. I think Pete has done exceptionally well in the big events and, you know, definitely deserves to be treated as one of the greatest tennis players that has played the game. You know, that is something that, you know, you're not going to see every day for sure.

Q. When you play against him, does that go through your mind that you're playing one of the greatest?

MICHAEL CHANG: No and I don't think it ever will, to be honest with you because I grew up playing with him. Because he's always going to be that eight year old playing on the other side of the court with me.

Q. (inaudible)?

MICHAEL CHANG: First time I played, I don't know. Actually, I don't remember. If you ask Pete I don't think he remembers either. But I've known Pete for so long that to me, he'll always be -- he'll always just be Pete. Just because we grew up playing together.

Q. Andre talked about the longevity factor with Rios not being as (inaudible)?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is to a certain extent, it can be physically grueling. I think it depends on your perspective, the way you look add it. Granted, if you're a little bit smaller you do maybe have to move about a little bit more. But if you're bigger, you've got to stretch a little bit more. So the way I've got to look at it, it's a matter of perspective. You know, for me, I still feel like my -- my best years of tennis are waiting for me. I don't really -- the thought of retirement or finishing out my career doesn't cross my mind unless someone brings it up. I think sometimes people forget I'm the youngest of the bunch, being 26 years old. So I think it's a matter of perspective. It's a matter of where you place yourself, as far as what you want to do in your career or where you are as far as your family or your future goals or your future plans. I think in certain aspects, you know Andre's a little bit ahead of me as far as that department, you know, being married and stuff like that. Maybe his perspective is a little bit different. But it's nice to see him playing great tennis and, you know, being back and making the impact on the Tour that he's been making.

Q. I might ask you another question about your relationship with Pete. What we see, is that laid-back guy with no emotion. The Pete you know, are we getting the wrong impression by what we're seeing from the outside looking in?

MICHAEL CHANG: To be honest with you, I don't think that -- I don't think that anyone on the outside is really going to get a chance to really know Pete unless you're in his circle, to be honest with you. I know that Pete's image, you know, on the court is that of, you know, great tennis ability and maybe a little bit, you know, on the boring side and stuff like that. But actually, off the court he's a very laid back person. But he has certain things that he enjoys very much. He has a good sense of humor. I think that there are other areas that maybe people don't see and I think that's been the case for a lot of players.

Q. Is the fire probably more than we can appreciate?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the fire is something that he probably keeps inside more than anything else. I don't think you're going to see that kind of emotion, that kind of like Jimmy Connors emotion on the court. But he has it. If he didn't have it, he wouldn't be No. 1 for so many years. That's just pretty cut and dried. But I think it depends how you look at different players. I think Ivan Lendl is a great example. On the court, he's looked at this like -- kind of like, you know, hard-working methodical machine almost. But actually off the court, he's a very good guy, very good guy, loves to have fun, loves to play practical jokes, even though sometimes they are a little on the dark side. But he's very kickback, very laid back and very easy-going. But on the court, you wouldn't know that. So and sometimes what you see on the court is not necessarily who they are.

ATP TOUR REP: Anything else for Mike? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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