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November 18, 1995

Michael Chang


Q. Been a long time since you beat him. Why do you think it happened today and how do you feel about it?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think Pete probably could have said the same thing a few years ago and, I think, partly today was one of those days where a lot of things were just working really well for me and just combination of a lot of things. So you try to learn from your previous matches and learn what you did right and what you did wrong and what he does well and you just go out with hoping that everything is working and today was just one of those great days for me.

Q. Michael, you have played a lot over the years. You played in the juniors. You played through the pros. How would you rank this in looking back at your other wins over Pete?

MICHAEL CHANG: I kind of think that they were all big matches regardless of whether we have played in the first round of a tournament or not. They have always been big matches for both of us, just because we knew that, you know, we had grown up playing against each other and we are always pretty pumped when we play each other; not wanting to give the other any kind of edge at all; just wanting to continue to get better and better and, so, it has always been like that. We almost feel like whenever we play, it is like the finals of a tournament, so, it just kind of comes with, you know, just playing each other through so many years.

Q. Since playing him when you were younger, your style has evolved more than his has; is that safe to say?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it has been both. I think that growing up with Pete didn't -- he wasn't very tall, so, he didn't possess a very big serve and wasn't -- didn't have all that great volleys. He still had the big forehand and had a pretty good two-handed backhand; then Pete started to change his game a little bit, started coming in a little bit more, and started to grow a little bit taller, so everything else started to click for him, changed to one backhand, started serve and volley. Started serving well, during the past few years, he really managed to get things down. He is a lot stronger mentally, so, you know, I think for me, I have tried to change my game a little bit over the past few years.

Q. From '92 to now, is it different than the way you would have been playing early in the '90s, attacking him and everything?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I don't think I had that ability back then to do so. For me, to beat Pete back then, it was just running down a lot of balls and make him play an extra ball or, more or less, kind of wear him out. So, you know, I just -- you can't expect to beat Pete that way now. It is just different -- unless he -- unless he doesn't get any sleep at all before.

Q. Is it more enjoyable to beat him when you are aggressive and you are the one taking it in your own hands as opposed to wearing him out?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is always nice to be able to win matches where you go out and you win them, rather than the other person losing the matches to you. I think there is a certain amount of satisfaction in that, so...

Q. You always seem to be building, adding to your game. Coming into the tournament this year, your record in Frankfurt hadn't been great. Any objectives that you came in with this year for the tournament; things were looking to try to do or try to accomplish?

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually, before this event started, I wanted to be able to finish No. 4 at the end of the year. That is something I haven't done to date, so, that was my initial goal coming into Frankfurt. And just to be able to do better than I had in the past. My record isn't all that great, but each year is a new year, and you hope that each year you get a little bit better. I think this year has been a good improvement. Hopefully, we will take things another step further from here.

Q. Are you going to watch this match?

MICHAEL CHANG: I have been. I have been.

Q. How long did it take you to feel at ease serving big like you do now? How many years had you worked on your serve the last three years?

MICHAEL CHANG: Probably more than that.

Q. So how long did it take for you to feel at ease with your serve?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is still to the point where, you know, it is not -- I want to be able to be able to serve, you know, each time I come out and play just consistent, good solid percentage, and just good solid serving. Every now and again, my serve will kind of go off and that is something that I am continually working on. I think when you start off serving, you start off going for big serves, you maybe make 10%, you just continue to work at it, your percentage gets a little bit better and your accuracy and, for me, just working hard with Carl, solidifying simple things, like toss, and stuff like that, and trying to get a little bit stronger - a combination of things helped out.

Q. Which percentage of your training, your practicing, is about serving?

MICHAEL CHANG: Which percentage?

Q. Yeah.

MICHAEL CHANG: I would say, you know, definitely a pretty good percentage. I think, still, the meat of my game is still my groundstrokes. I am not going to neglect that. I am not going to, all of a sudden, become a serve and volleyer, for example, it is just not my strength to do that. My strength is still my groundstrokes and up here (POINTING TO HIS HEAD) and being able to move around the court and I work on all the other things to compliment that game.

Q. Were there any times during this year when you said to yourself you wouldn't succeed in changing your game or not; you were always sure that you would improve that way or --

MICHAEL CHANG: I never thought that there was -- if I were to work on certain parts of my game, that it would damage my game. If it didn't help it, it would just kind of stay the same, so that has been my approach and just, you know, I felt like I didn't have much of a choice. Guys are getting bigger; arms are getting longer; serving bigger, and hitting bigger. For me to come out and expect to win matches defensively, you know, day after day, and expect to be in the top 10, it is just too difficult and so I had to make a change. I didn't have a choice. So, in many aspects, it was very good for me because I think that I am learning to become more of an all-court player. So in turn, I think it has helped me to become a better player.

Q. Is there anyone who comes to mind, who you have played over the last few years, who has added to their game as you have, added a serve or gotten stronger in a particular area that is really something that one can see; is demonstrable like your serve is, the fact that your aces have increased?

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually over -- since professional, I can say that Pete is a good example coming in from juniors to professional, but from professionals on, I really can't say. I really can't pinpoint one particular person. I think a lot of players have always had a lot of talent in certain aspects of their game and, you know, take a guy like Ferreira, for example, when he came on Tour, he had all the shots already, and a guy like Boris he had the shots already. So, for them, it is just a matter of continuing to get better in those areas. But I think that as far as, you know, working on really concentrating on other aspects of my game to go from a defensive player to an aggressive player and be successful at it, you know, I don't think that I feel like in my heart that no one has taken the time to work on those things quite as much as I have; maybe they didn't need to quite as much as I had to either. So, you know, I think in that regard, the hard work definitely paid off. And now I am seeing good results and on top of that, everything has just been very, very blessed by the Lord, so...

Q. Michael, you were serving at 3-2, second set; he gets a breakpoint on you first one, I think, you come up with a service winner; hit another ace 2 points later. At that point, are you thinking big serve; get it over with or how do you approach it mentally when you get up against a wall like that?

MICHAEL CHANG: It depends on the situation. For me, obviously, it is nice to be able to hit the big serve and just get out of a situation like that. I know what it feels like to be on the other receiving end of that. But for me, it varies from person to person, from player to player and what I feel like is my best play in that situation.

Q. You realize that the more you win, the better you play now, the stranger it seems that you are not going to be playing in the final in Russia -- the better you are playing, the stronger it seems, if you end up winning this tournament, that you aren't going to be a part of the team in Russia? Do you wish you could go as well as you are playing now?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is not something that has really necessarily been that much on my mind -- I mean, I have thought -- no, I take that back. I have actually thought about it a lot with Pete and Jim here, but, you know, the situation is very different. This is, you know, I don't think you can really, you know, just go by these -- although, I am playing well here, Russia is a different circumstance and different surface, and --

Q. But you were in the French Open Finals?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, that is true. But I think things are pretty much set for the Tie there and I don't think you can complain with having the No. 1, No. 2 player in the world and a two-time French Open Champion, I don't think that you can look at that team and say, oh, that is not the best team going or that is not one of the best teams going.

Q. Did you want to be asked? Would you like to have been asked this time?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I heard something that from -- I guess Jim said that he thought it would be a little bit unfair for him and maybe for some of the other guys if I were to play because I didn't, you know, didn't play throughout any of the other Ties. I was actually initially planning to play the first Tie which was supposedly going to be on the west coast, United States, after the Australian and I think things got messed up from there, but, you know, as far as Davis Cup goes, I think Gully is pretty set in his mind. I think he is pretty confident that Andre is going to be able to not just be there, but, you know, play great tennis in order to bring the Tie home.

Q. Still would you have liked to have been asked or not?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, you know, obviously it would have been nice to have been taken into a bit of consideration. I felt that that really wasn't something that really happened. From the time that Andre and Pete said, well, we are going to play the rest of the year and then it was it. Once their word was said, that was it, so, you know, I think in that regard, it would have been nice to have been kind of kept up-to-date on some things instead of having to hear them secondhand, but -- yeah.... But I think things will get better.

Q. Do you feel that the team would be stronger with you than without you?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think it is something that you need to worry about. The team is set and I -- yeah, I don't think it is necessary to kind of go into that, so....

Q. Apparently there are some telephone calls from people who have been watching the television in England from my newspaper and they just wanted to know about Michael's t-shirt - why you are wearing a t-shirt. Is that --

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't classify it as a t-shirt.

Q. It is not classified as a t-shirt? Is it right that you had to get special permission --

MICHAEL CHANG: I did double-check with the ATP. Actually I wore a shirt earlier in the year that was black and blue and white that was also like that. Put it this way, it is kind of the new trend for the '90s - we will put it this way. (SMILING) kind of knocking Andre a little bit, yeah, so, we will leave it at that.

End of FastScripts….

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