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March 15, 1996
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
JOE LYNCH: Michael Chang is into the semifinals and will play
Marcelo Rios for the second time in their careers tomorrow. And
David, why don't you take the first question.
Q. Were you surprised how you dominated the second and third
MICHAEL CHANG: I think Andre was a little bit of a let-down
after the first set. From there I was just -- I had that early
break and pretty much, I didn't want that to slip away, so I was
just trying to concentrate and, you know, trying to play better
tennis as the match went on, and, you know, I think that I was
able to pretty much just stay with him and keep him off balance
and he never really regained anything, so, you know, things went
well for me from there on out.
Q. With Rios you played him last year in San Jose, what do
you remember about that match?
MICHAEL CHANG: I know Marcelo is a very, very talented player.
He is very solid off the ground. He has had, you know, a very,
very good year over the last year or so. Playing some really good
tennis. And, you know, he likes to take the ball early, so you
are going to see a lot of baseline, you know, rallies and you
know lot of tough points tomorrow.
Q. How similar do you think this match was to the one that
you and Andre played in Melbourne?
MICHAEL CHANG: A little bit different. I think Andre, although
he had a tough match yesterday, but two out of three sets you
figure that the weather has been pretty cool shouldn't really
play that much of a factor. We didn't have any wind this particular
match, so, you know, I think that each time we play some things
are little bit different. I mean, even in San Jose, you know,
it was a tough match then as well, and, yeah, I don't think you
can really compare. Every match is different.
Q. How confident are you about your chances to go ahead and
take this whole thing here?
MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that obviously getting past today
is a good step for me. It is a good confidence booster, and I
am just pretty much going to take things match by match, you know,
Marcelo is a good player and not one to be taken lightly, so I
have to definitely come out and play very good tennis tomorrow.
Q. Michael 9 of the top 10 entered the tournament only two
have made the last 4. Any thoughts on why that might be?
MICHAEL CHANG: It is a tough tournament. That is it-- pretty
much it. I think 9 of the top 10 and I think if you were to
take the whole draw, this tournament has had tough fields for
as long as I could remember, and the thing about it is that, you
know, in a sense it is kind of a miniature Grand Slam in many
ways except you don't have 128 players, so you know, it is one
of those things where, you know, right off the bat, you are playing
good solid players, and if you are not ready or if you are a little
bit off that day, you know, guys aren't going to let you get away
Q. How well were you serving tonight?
MICHAEL CHANG: I started off -- didn't serve that well in the
beginning, the first set and-a-half, really. I really only started
to pick things up from the latter part of the second, you know,
'til the match finished. I was able to get a good few games in
there where I got a lot of aces and a lot of service winners,
and that helped me to close that set out and start off on a good
note, but I think overall my percentage has got to be pretty low.
So it's got to be better, so...
Q. Have you ever had six aces in a game before?
MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, but six aces and you are still struggling
to win the game, so, you know, I think that you don't want to
have to hit aces to stay in a game. You want to hit aces to close
out games. Obviously, the minute I hit my first four aces and
then, you know, then I don't have to worry about the other two.
It is one of those just one of those things.
Q. Three unforced errors in the third set. Was it pretty
much perfect that third set?
MICHAEL CHANG: No, I don't think so. I can play better tennis
than that. I think although things went well for me, you know,
I still feel like I can play better tennis than that. I mean,
I was serving was better and things were coming along, but --
Q. Michael, after Andre beat you in San Jose he had a very
iffy final against Pete where he lost his concentration, then
he lost to the first round. Now tonight sort of spotty performance.
In some ways, do you sense that he is going through a tough stretch
now, or is this the same Andre Agassi you knew before or do you
sense a slump?
MICHAEL CHANG: You know, that is something you just have to
ask Andre himself.
Q. He is not here.
MICHAEL CHANG: He didn't come for press? I am not Andre, so,
you know, I think --
Q. You were out there with him.
MICHAEL CHANG: It is one of those things where Andre is so unique
in his way that I honestly feel that nobody can really say things
for him. You know, if he wants to say something or if he feels
a particular way, he will pretty much say it. But I am not close
enough to Andre to tell you what is going through his mind or
if he is incredibly happy right now or if he is incredibly sad
or going through a difficult period.
Q. I am not asking that. But you have known him for years;
you have been on-court three times in the past couple of months
with him. As an opponent, do you sense that this is the same
Andre with the same focus, and intensity and shot variety, shot
arsenal or is this a different player you are playing?
MICHAEL CHANG: No, Andre can always -- he always seems to have
his arsenal there, to be honest with you. It is just a matter
of, you know, of how he is able to use it. I mean, even tonight,
I mean, he hit some incredible shots tonight. But on top of that,
he hit some shots that weren't so good, so, you know, it depends.
I mean, he is one of those types of players where, you know,
he is not going to play defensive tennis and make you hit, you
know, try to hit winners off. He is the one that is going to
be going for winners and on days that he is playing well, he is
going to make a lot of shots and days he is not playing well,
he is going to miss some and some days he is going to be in between.
So, you know, it is difficult to say. But , you know, Andre is
Andre. I mean, that is all I can say.
Q. How much of a stepping stone is this sort of a after win
for you in securing a place among the top three of the rankings
having beaten Agassi at the Australian and over here as well and
in the big tournaments?
MICHAEL CHANG: I am really not too concerned now with the rankings.
I am really concerned with trying to do well, you know, here
and also at the Lipton because I haven't done well in these two
tournaments for the past couple of years and they are really big
tournaments and important tournaments, and, you know, I think
that if I am able to focus on my game and know my priorities and
have the right attitude and know what I need to concentrate on,
then the ranking and all those other things will fall into place
for me. But first things first is that, you know, I got to stay
Q. Is there a time in tonight's match where you thought you
took over mentally? It seemed like you were gaining confidence
and Andre was getting frustrated.
MICHAEL CHANG: He was very frustrated on one particular changeover.
I don't know if you guys caught it on the little microphone or
not. If not, it wasn't a good microphone (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).
He was very frustrated after that particular one. I think I
broke him for the first game in the third, so, you know, I think
from there things started to definitely, you know, turn my way.
I knew that Andre was very frustrated and I needed to play.
I needed to up my level of tennis because, you know, under those
circumstances, with some guys, it feels then to play better.
I think McEnroe was a great example of that and I didn't know
how Andre would really take things so I was just really concerned
with what I was trying to concentrate on and concentrate on my
game and not worry about him.
Q. What did he say?
MICHAEL CHANG: Do you have the transcript for that? (AUDIENCE
LAUGHTER). He was just upset about the call, so -- yeah.
Q. Michael, apart from the intensity you would have playing
a player ranked No. 3 in the world, what else exists what other
layers are there when you play Andre?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think there is, you know, besides -- I think
besides a personality difference, I think there is a style difference.
I think that there is just -- Andre and I are just very different
people. I think that in many ways there is always going to be
that rivalry because it has existed through the juniors and even
'til this day and I am sure as our careers go on, will continue
to be that way. Regardless if I beat him from here on out every
single time or he beats me from here on out every single time,
there is always going to be that rivalry and that is the case
with all the American players; particularly, you know, Pete, Andre,
Jim and I. So with Andre, you know, I think that in some ways,
you know, you want to be able to really come out and for me, personally,
just really play some great tennis against him. Andre has been
kind of-- had the edge over the last, you know, I don't know
how many years, but it is nice to be able to finally come through
a match like this and kind of like, more or less, kind of let
your tennis do the talking.
Q. Last year many of us in the media were just saying, hey,
it is Pete and Andre; that is the story, and it lasted for so
much of the year. Everyone else were spear carriers. Do you
see that breaking down pretty soon? Do you think that there will
be a different configuration at the very top of the game?
MICHAEL CHANG: It is funny because, you know, for a while people
were talking Pete and Andre and all of a sudden the last two tournaments,
you know, they didn't get to the finals; they didn't play each
other, and it has kind of flip-flopped the other way. But I just
think part of it is that part of it is that, you know, guys are
improving. I mean, it is tough. It is really tough to be able
to come out and to win every single week. It is just -- it is
just not possible to do that through a calendar year. You can't
expect that they will be there in the finals. There are a lot
of hungry guys out there trying to do well and trying to beat
them, if they get in the way, and, you know, that is -- it is
just one of those things. Yeah, it is just one of those things.
But I think particularly for the guys who are ranked a little
bit lower, like myself, who haven't tasted what it is like to
be the best in the world or to win another Grand Slam tournament,
you know, there is that hunger to do better and to strive for
Q. You really crunched that service game that gave you the
set point in the first set. Is that a shot that you might not
have hit a year or two ago or is that an example of how you are
playing more aggressively?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think a few years ago I still would have hit
it. I might not have made it. I might not have hit it as hard,
but I still would have hit it. It was there and it was there
for me and I just went for it. I mean, it was -- yeah. It was
a shot that I liked, so, you know, when you like shots, you know,
if you pick your shots, you got to go for them.
Q. How much time do you did you think about it before hitting?
MICHAEL CHANG: You don't. It is instinct. It is one of those
things is that that is my ball and you hit it. Sometimes you miss
it and sometimes you make it. So -- yeah.
Q. Since the beginning of the year people just talk about
the No. 1, but at the big events like Frankfurt, Australia and
here you are the one stepping in. Is there a personal satisfaction
in that or what?
MICHAEL CHANG: Hopefully it will be able to come through. I
think there are a lot of guys -- I have always said that there
are a lot of guys who are capable. I mean, Goran is playing some
great tennis. Just a lot of guys. I don't think you can discount
anybody, any of the top 10 guys on a particular week, you know,
some guys maybe aren't going to play so well, but you can almost
be sure that come next tournament, you know, they are up and ready
to go. They don't -- none of those top players like losing early.
You know, if they didn't mind losing early they wouldn't be where
they are. It is just one those things that comes with wanting
to be the best and part of being a champion.
Q. Any other players on the Tour that have the relentlessness
and attitude to never give up on a point as you?
MICHAEL CHANG: A lot of players. A lot of players. I would
say a lot of players. Okay.
JOE LYNCH: Thank you.
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