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March 23, 1997

Michael Chang


JOE LYNCH: Michael Chang will be a stand-up comic today.

MICHAEL CHANG: I'll have my own sit-com after this.

Q. Not often I look up to him.

MICHAEL CHANG: All the guys I grew up playing with, Sampras, Krajicek, they were all shorter than I was when I was young.

Q. Joe is older than you.

MICHAEL CHANG: I bet he was shorter when he was young.

JOE LYNCH: 5'2" at birth. First question for Michael.

Q. Michael, today was it a case he was on his game and you were a little off yours, maybe a combination of both?

MICHAEL CHANG: A little bit of a combination. I didn't really feel that comfortable out there. You know, Sergi was playing some good tennis today. He was serving particularly well, getting a lot of free points off his first serve. He was actually returning pretty well today, too. That just made it a little more difficult. I did actually have quite a few opportunities to break today. I had quite a few breakpoints. Even in the first set, just wasn't able to get those important points today. I think that really, you know, kind of hurt me in many regards as far as getting back into the match or turning things around.

Q. Was it that you were sluggish, stepping slow?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know. It's kind of hard to say. I mean, I just have some shots where I was able to get the shot I wanted, just wasn't able to do much with it. Some shots, I missed some easy volleys today, I missed an overhead at match point. You're going to have some days where maybe you're not quite at your best. I think a guy like Sergi is going to make you work for the points, the type of guy that will play consistent tennis, he'll whoop the ball around. His ball is going to kick a little more than some of the other guys. You're going to definitely have to work hard to beat him. Today things just didn't really go my way. He was playing some good tennis on top of that, so it made it even more difficult.

Q. How disappointing is it, having won the last two tournaments, having an 18-2 record? I'm pretending I'm Joe.

MICHAEL CHANG: I was surprised you didn't say how my 11-match winning streak snapped (laughter). Obviously it's always a little disappointing going out in an event like this. I think this is a great event. Obviously it's a tournament that all the top players really want to do well, be able to add this to the list. If you've done it once, add it a couple times. I think all in all, I'm going to take this match and -- just be able to take this match. I got a little time off to get ready for Hong Kong, just put that to good use, be able to go there refreshed and recuperated. It's been a good run for me. Unfortunately it ended a little earlier, earlier than I wanted it to. Actually, I didn't want the streak to end. I feel like God has his plans for everything, so I'm not too concerned about it. It is always disappointing losing early.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Michael?

Q. You're not cramping or anything?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was a little bit. I don't know why. It was a short match. Actually, I was sitting down for a while. I think that kind of sparked it a little bit. I'd been walking around, so I didn't want to sit down again.

Q. Philippoussis hit two serves today, one 140 and one 141.

MICHAEL CHANG: That's all?

Q. How high is it going to go? Higher than 141?

MICHAEL CHANG: Higher than 141? Well, I think guys can hit harder than that for sure. I think, for one thing, Mark knows if he were to string his tension a little looser, he'd be able to do that. The flipside of the coin, if he does that, he's not going to have any control on the rest of his game. I think if you had a serving contest, just strictly serves, guys didn't have to worry about hitting volleys or groundstrokes, they'd string their tension a lot looser, they'd be able to get a lot higher than that for sure.

Q. What do you want to do now? Are you going to stay here?

MICHAEL CHANG: I might stick around a little bit. This is a great place. It's nice and relaxing. I might stick around for a couple days, soak up a little bit of sun.

Q. Maybe some fishing?

MICHAEL CHANG: Maybe? Of course. This is a nice place to come to, like I said. I'll probably stick around for a little bit.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for the towering Mike Chang? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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