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November 14, 1995

Michael Chang


Q. Michael, obviously first and foremost, what did you actually do with your knee and how is it?

MICHAEL CHANG: I didn't have any --

Q. Your leg, anyway.

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I was just -- I think I underestimated the conditions a little bit. I didn't think it was going to be quite as warm as it was today. I think I lost a lot more fluid than I normally would in an indoor court. I think having such tough points with Thomas didn't really help either, so next time around I will be a little bit better prepared.

Q. It was a cramp, is that what it was?


Q. Left leg, right leg?


Q. Seemed like you were going for your shots the last couple of games there in a big way; especially on the breakpoints.

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, well...

Q. Is that because you knew you had to or because --

MICHAEL CHANG: I had that one opportunity at 4-3. I had that one breakpoint and Thomas was fortunate. He doublefaulted one at one point in the game which helped things out. I was able to connect on the return, so, you know, it definitely helped me out. I was definitely trying to shorten up some of the points a little bit. When I was serving, I went for a backhand that really wasn't very close, but I tried to keep the points as short as I could, and then come matchpoint, I know Thomas was fighting out there, and I wasn't going to try anything crazy. I was going to keep going until my legs would pretty much lock on me so I couldn't move anymore. I played Thomas earlier this year and I had three matches points against him; wasn't able to win that match. And, you know, so I was -- definitely wanted to try to make the most out of each matchpoint that I had against him.

Q. When did the cramping start?

MICHAEL CHANG: I'd say the last few games, so, yeah, but Thomas, I think you have to give him a lot of credit because I think he is definitely, you know, no longer just a clay court player. A clay court player does not play that kind of tennis on an indoor surface like this. And I think you have to definitely give him a lot of credit. He always had a very big heart and he has always been a fighter and I think will continue to improve.

Q. But you, in a way, beat him with his own weapons, in a way, today?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think we have similar games, so I think that obviously for this particular year, I think Thomas is better than everybody on clay. But I think that on a surface like this, it is going to help me out a little bit more. This is a surface that I am a little bit more familiar with than Thomas. I grew up playing on hardcourts, and this kind of belongs in the same category, but, you know, but that doesn't mean that the matches are going to be any easier against him. So, yeah...

Q. You served very well today.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think I had to. I think we both did. I don't think I recall Thomas serving that many aces against me. I think that was a pretty crucial part of the match today and I think particularly the first set for Thomas, I just really didn't have any opportunities to break him until that last game that he was serving for the set, and yeah, so I think, you know, today was definitely good serving day for both of us.

Q. The best achievement of this year?

MICHAEL CHANG: As far as -- beating--

Q. To beat Muster at the ATP final?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that it is obviously a great win for me. Obviously, it is a great win for me. It is the first time that I have beaten Thomas and always the first time is very sweet, but, yeah, I have had a lot of good victories this year, so this definitely is up there with the rest of them, and hopefully, you know, hopefully we will be able to keep things going.

Q. Thomas hinted that you might have been faking that injury. He is often criticized for doing that. How do you react to that?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think that -- I don't think Thomas will do that. Thomas has always been just a very hard worker and everything and I am sure that -- I don't think Thomas would hint at that. And I am not one to do anything like that. I think if you are cramping, it is hard not to show it. I think that if Thomas was cramping, I am sure he has in the past, I am sure he probably danced around like I was a little bit today as well, but I don't expect that kind of comment coming from Thomas; he, himself, is very professional.

Q. Michael, how do you, when you go into a match like this as opposed to the French Open final, how does your strategy change with regard to the surface with the same opponent?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that, you know, certain things are going to change and I actually, you know, I think it is really difficult to say. Because, you know, this surface is a little bit on the slow side, but you don't have quite as much time and it is something as far as strategywise, both matches were very tough matches and, you know, I was a little bit -- Thomas was just too good in the French final, but today I don't think that there was a clear-cut strategy, so to speak; just going out there and trying to fight my hardest and, you know, just trying to take advantage of whatever opportunities that I had.

Q. You said last year that if you ever -- you would love to have more aces than Ivanisevic and today you looked pretty good on your serve. How have you changed your game in one year?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, it still doesn't compare to Goran's 35 plus at Wimbledon per match. That would be nice, but I think I have worked very hard on my serve the past few years and, you know, just working on trying to make it more and more consistent and, you know, on top of that, I have also changed a racket, which has definitely helped me in the service department and in other parts of my game. So, I think it has been definitely a combination of things and hopefully, you know, as the years go on, it will become more and more of a weapon for me.

Q. Is he, in any way, intimidating to play because all the noise he makes, his physical presence on the tennis court, being the way it is?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that because I have played against Thomas before and I have seen him play and I think for both of us, we have a great deal of respect for each other and you know what to expect when you come out to play Thomas regardless on any surface, and, you know, I think that as far as intimidation, I don't think that that really comes into play anymore.

Q. Maybe not intimidation, but do you sense his physical presence more with him than when you play other people because of how aggressive he is with his body language?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think you are always very aware of that. But I think for me, in a situation like that, it is going to get me fired up too. Some players just have that. I would say that Becker has that as well. Just the way he is on the court and stuff. But other players don't have and they still go out and beat you like Stefan Edberg, you know. So, I don't think it really plays into that much of a major role in the matches; particularly when you have been on the Tour for as long as we have. Maybe for some of the younger players, you know, who grew up watching these players play, but I think that, you know, we have been on the Tour long enough to know what to expect from each other.

Q. You did seem more fiery than usual at times during that match?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah. Yeah, this was a match that I definitely wanted to win. You know, I think that it is heartbreaking to have to lose to any player, you know, more than a few times in a year and not beat them back. So like I said, it was heartbreaking losing the match in Indian Wells having three matches points and you figure that it is heartbreaking, you know, to lose in the French final, although, I think it was a great tournament for me, but, you know, you never want to lose those finals; particularly in Grand Slam tournaments and, you know, so the way I look at it is that if at first you don't succeed you try, try again.

Q. Is it getting to the point with big tournaments now that when Sampras is involved in it that everybody just figures Sampras is going to win, including the players?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I don't think so. I think that players are always aware -- always aware of Pete. He is always quite capable of playing tennis, I think, above everybody else, but yeah, I don't think that players think that because he is in the tournament that he is an automatic winner anymore. Maybe last year, when he was dominating tennis a lot more so. This year, I think it is a great accomplishment for him to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon and finals of the Australian, but his results this year haven't been quite as consistent as they were last year, so I think the players -- players sense that - things are getting more and more difficult for Pete to win day in and day out, but that doesn't mean that he is capable -- he is not capable of doing that.

Q. I think you made a speech in Mandarin in Beijing. I would like to know if you are fluent in Mandarin?

MICHAEL CHANG: Do you speak Mandarin?

Q. No.

MICHAEL CHANG: Okay, I am fluent. (smiles) I can get by. I am working on it....yeah.

Q. And you learned with your parents or --

MICHAEL CHANG: It is kind of a half, half thing, so I think it has gotten better actually. Each time I go back to Beijing, you know, you start hearing it and stuff and you start talking to more and more people and each year it starts to get a little bit better and better, you know, hopefully by the time my career is over I will be fluent which will definitely be very nice.

Q. Did your parents speak Cantonese or Mandarin?

MICHAEL CHANG: Mandarin. My dad also speaks Tousanese (phonetic). There is a lot of dialects, a lot of Chinese dialects.

End of FastScripts....

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