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August 31, 1997

Michael Chang

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Michael, do you get in grooves? If so, are you in one right now?

MICHAEL CHANG: I'm not sure actually. You know, I feel like things are coming along. I think everybody has a period of time when they kind of get into a groove. I think that maybe it's kind of evident during matches or if you have like a string of good tournaments together. But, you know, at the moment I feel, you know, like I'm coming along.

Q. One of the things your opponent was saying is how physically exhausting it can be to play you and what great shape you need to be in to play you. Is that something you pride yourself on?

MICHAEL CHANG: That's something that's pretty important, you know, particularly in a Grand Slam tournament where it's three out of five sets, and you know that a lot of times matches are won by who is physically fitter. You get into the latter stages of a match or latter stages of a tournament even, you know, sometimes it can make the difference between pulling out of a match or falling a little bit short. It is important to prepare yourself as best as you can.

Q. What do you do in your preparation? What are some of the things you do to get in that shape?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think everybody's routine is a little bit different. For me, I think it's important to be smart about my schedule. For me, I want to make sure that I'm not playing too many weeks prior to coming into like the US Open, for example. I think that's always going to be an important part of preparing yourself. Obviously, you do a lot of other things to get yourself physically fit. For me, I kind of mix things up. I don't do the same thing every day, just to kind of keep things interesting all the time.

Q. So what would some of the routines be? Do you lift weights, run?

MICHAEL CHANG: Everything, a little bit of everything.

Q. Do you like workouts? People are different. Some people enjoy that or some people have to push themselves through it.

MICHAEL CHANG: I enjoy workouts. There's times when you're a little bit tired and you don't feel like you're up to it. But still, those are the days that maybe you've got to push yourself a little bit. I've been fortunate to have some people able to push me, know when I need to be pushed a little bit. That's something that's been good for me. One thing I don't like to do, you'll probably laugh at this, I don't like long distance running. I run enough on the court, I'm not sure. To me, I get kind of bored with it.

Q. What do you do to replace that?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't. Unfortunately, I try to make it as, I don't know, enjoyable as possible. But I do mix things up. I don't run all the time, but every now and then I do.

Q. Michael, some thoughts about your next opponent, Cedric Pioline.

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, Cedric is a very tough player. Obviously, getting into the Finals of Wimbledon and having been in the Finals here, he knows how to play. He's very much an all-surface player. He has that kind of talent, that kind of capability. I can't recall ever having an easy match against Cedric. I think when we play, it's not going to be an easy match. You can't expect any of these matches to be easy. I want to be able to come out and play some of my best tennis in order to win. Hopefully go out there with the right priorities, right focus.

Q. Do you feel concerned when you get broken like you did there so many times in a row, like you did in the third set?

MICHAEL CHANG: A little bit. A little bit. I think what was frustrating, yes, like you said, getting broken so many times. You think, "Chang got broke four or five times in a set. He still won the set." Doesn't make sense. I think for me, it is a little bit of a concern. I think on a couple occasions, you know, one point here, one point there really kind of made the difference. I mean, I had a couple ad points, and went for a forehand, I remember, just clipped the tape. Hopefully something like this won't happen the rest of the tournament. Get it out now, don't have to worry about it for the rest of the tournament. It is a little bit of a concern. Sargis played some good tennis today. Definitely playing in the third set first than the first two.

Q. I guess a little bit less of a concern for you than, say, Pete, if he had been broken five times in a set. That's cause for alarm. For you, it's not as bad.

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I don't actually agree with that. If I go out and play against a guy who I know I'm not going to break more than twice a set, then I know I'm going to run into some serious trouble. Against Pete, if I lose my serve four times, pretty much the set is gone. You want to be able to break your opponent and keep it that way. Hopefully, you know, just be able to hold on to your own serve. It gives you a lot of confidence to be able to go out and return a little bit freer.

Q. Coming back to Pioline. You never lost to him. What made the difference in your match each time you met him?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think it is a little bit difficult to say. We had a really tough match in Cincinnati a few years ago. I won that match in three sets. There really wasn't a whole lot of difference there, just a few points here and there. I think the players and people know how talented a player Cedric is. When his game is on, he's a very dangerous player. He's an all-court player, which is something of a rarity these days. He's able to serve and volley, he's able to play extremely well from the back; he's got a good touch. You know, he's a very talented player. In fact, actually, it's very typical of the French players to be kind of all-court players. Arnaud Boetsch is another example. It's never easy. I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a tough match.

Q. Do you feel the fact he went for the second time in a Final of a Grand Slam put him in a new league or not?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it's tough to say. I think it's tough to say. I think players give Cedric a lot of respect on all surfaces. Normally, if you take a player into consideration, they have a surface that maybe they don't play on as well. You say Pete, you put him on clay. Cedric, you take a surface, you don't really quite know what to pick. You go with the surface that maybe suits you best because he's had such good results on all surfaces.

Q. Putting it the other way around. He went twice to a final of a Grand Slam. That is not in the same league as you or the other guys. What does he lack to be there?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I have my own opinions. Obviously, if I were to give my opinions and they were to be true and he were to work on certain aspects of his game, then it would be very dangerous for us. Cedric is talented enough. He's not far off. He's not far off. I think you can say that because he's had a lot of success against top players. When you're able to do that, you know that you're not far off. Maybe he just needs to be a little more consistent in his results. I think that's maybe fair to say.

Q. Michael, when you were at Wimbledon, did you ever meet Princess Diana? Is that affecting any of the players in any way?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was actually fortunate enough to meet her on a couple occasions. I think obviously today is a very sad day. Actually, I heard about it last night and didn't sleep all that great, you know, thinking about her and the situation and stuff. I did actually get a chance to meet her in '89 just before Wimbledon, and actually got a chance to meet her again last year in Hong Kong when she came out to watch the final. It was actually kind of nice, because in '89 I got a chance to sit down and watch a match with her, got a chance to talk with her a little bit. I think she was just a lovely lady. She's got the bluest eyes. That was something that kind of struck me a little bit. At first when I got asked to meet her, to sit next to her, at 17, I was like, "No, no." I was so intimidated to meet her. When I finally did get a chance to meet her and sit down and talk with her and stuff, it was really a thrill. I think today is something that, I don't know about everybody else, but I almost feel two emotions. You feel very sad that something like this happens, and at the same time, you feel a lot of anger inside, just the situation surrounding it and stuff. But all the things in my experience, having met her and stuff, obviously she always carried herself very well and was just really a lovely lady.

Q. Michael, this is very broad. How do you think or what do you think fans think of you? What is their reaction to you? There's so much focus on Andre being popular, Pete takes so much attention, McEnroe talks about not having too much excitement. They don't direct that towards you.

MICHAEL CHANG: Maybe I'm in the middle. I don't know. I think it's funny because for me I feel like what's been kind of nice is I've had fans ranging anywhere from very, very young to people in their 90s; gotten letters and stuff, which to me is really encouraging. To be able to touch people's lives in such a vast age group to me is pretty special. I think that everyone's entitled to their opinion. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who don't like me. Hopefully, I feel like there's a lot of people who do like me. But, you know, I think generally speaking, hopefully, people see the competitive side of me on the tennis court. But off the tennis court, hopefully they see that I'm a pretty relaxed individual. I'm definitely a little bit more of an introvert. I'm a very private person. I think people who are closest to me probably would be able to describe me better than I would myself.

Q. Are you comfortable here, not having all that attention here at the US Open? There's some, but not all. Is that almost like a perfect place to be?

MICHAEL CHANG: For me, it really doesn't matter. It's easier for me in a way. I feel like if you go about your business a little bit on the quiet side, it's okay with me. I think it's always -- I always expect Pete to get a lot of attention, just because he's so close to making history. Obviously he's had such a phenomenal -- particularly the last five years and stuff. I expect Andre always to be in the spotlight just because of the way he carries himself, just the charisma that he has. For me, it doesn't matter. I'm not here to go out and to grab the spotlight and stuff like that, or grab headlines and stuff. If I wanted to do that, I'd color my hair orange. I feel like with my tennis, I'm just going to go out and try to glorify the Lord in what I do. Come out and do my best.

End of FastScripts….

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