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September 1, 1995

Michael Chang


Q. What was it in the first set that gave you trouble? What was the ultimate difference in the match?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the first set he was, I mean, he just was playing some great tennis. He is a very talented player; has a very big forehand; was just doing a lot of -- just kind of doing everything right; wasn't making a lot of errors. I think under the circumstances, made some things kind of difficult, and I think throughout the whole match, I was just trying to, more or less, kind of grind it out. I think that I wasn't -- off the ground I wasn't doing a whole lot to hurt him and stuff. I had a couple shots in the fourth set that kind of slipped away from me, but, you know, I think I was very fortunate today the way things came out, I think, particularly, on the serve.

Q. Now that you can serve the ball higher than 120 miles an hour, how much of a difference has that made in your game?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think it necessarily is so much the speed. I think that it depends how accurate you are and I think pace is the point. If you are going to hit a 140 mile per hour serve, maybe it becomes a factor. But the players out here, they have just seen so many hard serves, that to see 120 is common, everyday tennis. So, I think, for me, it is more important that I mix up pace and also accuracy. You have some guys like you can ace the guy with an 85 mile per hour serve just as effective. John McEnroe was really good at that, placing the serve quite well, just to set up the point. I think you need a combination.

Q. When you are playing with one of those big rackets, do you feel bigger?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I am generally bigger because I have worked -- I am becoming stronger and stuff like that.

Q. Bigger, say, than when you were playing with a shorter racket? Does it make you feel, in a sense, that you have grown?

MICHAEL CHANG: I have grown, but I haven't lost the speed, does that make sense? Because I think that I would rather grow racquetwise than grow, I think, if I got taller. I think I would be a lot slower on the court. So I wouldn't want to give up that. So I think a combination works out pretty well for me.

Q. Are you endorsing one of those big rackets?

MICHAEL CHANG: You mean "big" meaning the Prince oversize?

Q. Aren't you playing with a racket that is a little longer?

MICHAEL CHANG: The racket I am playing with it is 28 inches right now. So I have used this since the beginning of 1994 and I have been very pleased with it. Prince has done a great job to make a lot of the things -- to make everything the way that I want it.

Q. There is a note where this is exactly eight years since you became the youngest winner here at 15. Does it feel like eight years? Eighty years? Another five-setter? Does it seem like a long while ago?

MICHAEL CHANG: Not really. I think that, you know, one thing I have noticed being on the Tour, sometimes I think back this is already like, I think, my eighth year on Tour and I kind of think about it and it has just gone like that (snapping fingers) I think that, you know, it is kind of strange, you think that those years go by kind of slow, but they have always gone by really fast for me.

Q. Do you feel like a veteran? Your generation, Agassi and Sampras and you have kind of taken over. Do you feel like a veteran?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think I am kind of a veteran. I think anyone who is still in their teen years are more kind of the newcomers. It is kind of a strange way to kind of address myself because I have always been the youngest player to play, so to speak. I have always played up in the juniors and I have always been the youngest player out on the professional Tour. So, for me, it is kind of strange to play guys that are younger than me and sometimes losing to younger players. I haven't experienced that necessarily before. I think you get used to it and, you know, for me it doesn't bother me. I am hoping that I am kind of like a fine wine.

Q. In your eight years, what would be the most amazing thing that has happened here at the U.S. Open; most astounding thing that has happened to you?

MICHAEL CHANG: Tenniswise? I mean, I have had a lot of great matches here. I mean, some I have lost and some that I have won. I think I have a lot more than just one. I think that the match against Edberg was a really great match. The match with McEnroe at night finished 'til like 1:30 in the morning, that was a great match. My match last year with that guy, round of 16, was pretty good. I just had a lot of tough matches and even some of the matches -- even my first match at the Open was just a thrill to be out there, but at 15 years of age and being playing in the U.S. Open, it was just a great experience for me.

Q. Do you remember a lot of specifics about that first match, I mean, you were saying it is almost like it was yesterday, do you clearly remember that, about as well as any here?

MICHAEL CHANG: I do remember it to a point. Actually, believe it or not, I was actually saving a little bit in that match, so I knew that Paul had just switched from a one-handed backhand to a two-handed backhand; looked like he had a little bit of trouble with the kick serve so I was kicking my serve and coming in on his backhand and I know I won it in four sets, and those are the things that I remember.

Q. How well do you feel you are playing, Michael, compared to previous U.S. Open?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I like to think that I am a better player. I think that if I am able to go out and serve like I did today for the rest of the tournament, I think it is definitely going to help me out quite a bit. I am just taking everything day by day. I think everything still needs to continue to get better and hope that it will. You know, just taking things match by match and just, you know, here to play my next round.

Q. One more veteran question. Some people say it is a friendlier Open this year. Can you comment on the improvement for the players; what has gotten better for you in the surroundings compared to earlier years?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, for me, the U.S. Open has always been friendly. Because I have always had a lot of fond memories and great experiences here. People have always been very kind and supportive of me. As far as the other things, I don't know if whether you are talking about the new lockerrooms or not. I think it is great that, you know, they make that change and lockerrooms are great, and obviously if they are able to go out and the USTA is able to make changes to better the U.S. Open year by year, I think that you are heading definitely in the right direction. I don't know whether they have taken that from some of the other Grand Slams, but I think like the French Open, for example, is a great example of that - always looking to better their tournament; make the facilities better for the players; make the atmosphere and getting to places or getting to courts a lot easier for the public, you know, a lot easier for the press as well and just to make it, overall, a great event for everybody. That is the way the U.S. Open should be.

Q. Do you have any more specifics besides the changing of the lockerroom situation?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that is the major change that the players will notice this year. I think maybe next year obviously with the new stadium being built, things are going to change a bit. But, you know, as far as from my eye, you know, that is definitely a positive. Other than that, everyone else has always been great. I mean, the people that you don't see actually around the tournament, people that, you know, that let you in for parking and all the security guards and just a lot of people that you don't really take into consideration, I think they do a great job to make the U.S. Open a great event.

Q. If you were to look at your footage of 1987 as the champion here and compare the Michael Chang of then and Michael Chang of now as a player, what would you see is the biggest differences?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think there would be a lot of difference in physique. I think that I was pretty skinny back then. I think that I filled out quite a bit. I think that other than that, I think that then I was much more of a defensive player than I am now. I think it was common for me to kind of get my first serve in; just play patient tennis and not make any errors. Not venturing to the net too much unless there was a drop shot. I think there are heck of a lot of differences.

Q. How about as far as confidence and the confidence and the ability to possibly go all the way in this tournament; is that something that is on your mind? You mentioned you take it a match at a time, but is it something that is ever present after having won a Grand Slam once? Several players in here have said that the feeling of winning a Grand Slam is something that always carries through them as they play subsequent Grand Slams?

MICHAEL CHANG: I agree with that. I think that, you know, to a point, after you win your first Grand Slam here, you are kind of there and hungry for more. I definitely agree with that. For me, I think my attitude shouldn't be any different than what it should always be and that is always just to go out and to work my hardest in practice; do whatever I can to -- the best preparation that I can prior to the tournament, during the tournament; going out and playing my best tennis during the match; trying to. And winning and losing is out of my hands. I think that I kind of feel that you are going to have some points that you feel a little bit unfortunate. Sometimes they go your way and to me, I look at it that I go out and play my best and everything else is really in God's hands - that is the way I look at it.

Q. I'd like to ask you what may be a difficult question for you, but if you might take a moment and reflect on it. Obviously, a big part of your career is not only here at the U.S. Open, but linked to China. You have had great successes there. You are a big hero there. China is very much been in the news recently with the Wu incident and with the conference coming up. Are you aware of the conditions there? Do you pay some attention to them and would you like to see changes or do you consciously back away and not say anything.

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I am conscious of, you know, of the few things that are there going on, in China. I think that, for me, I feel that to a point it is kind of best to keep my nose out of the politics area. I don't feel that is my specialty. Maybe 20 years down the line I may run for president or something. But I think that, for me, it is important that, you know, I realize that I am a tennis player and when I am able to go to China, I feel that they have given me a lot more freedom over the last few years than when I first got there, and I want to definitely, you know, respect that and I feel like when I go to China I have a great opportunity to touch peoples' lives there. The people that come and watch me play tennis are people or people that come and watch me on TV, I have a great opportunity to touch their lives, and I wouldn't want to do anything that would jeopardize that opportunity to do so. I feel that China is a great place where tennis can really grow and boom. I think that it is taking off right now. I think, for me, it is something that I definitely would like to be a part of; not just now, in my career, but also after my career is over. I feel that Asia is definitely, for me, is a major calling for me, and I am able to -- just aren't too many sports figures that are Asian, and if I am able to go there and be positive toward them; help them look at the brighter side of life, then I feel that my job is definitely, I think, fulfilled in that aspect.

Q. No one has ever contacted you concerning the problems -- some of the problems there? Have you ever been contacted about that?

MICHAEL CHANG: To my knowledge, no. To my knowledge, no. I don't know if maybe Advantage has been contacted or not. But for me, personally, no. But I am aware of some of the things that are going on and stuff.

End of FastScripts...

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