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March 10, 1995

Michael Chang


Q. What kind of plan do you have in advance to play Muster?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think against Thomas that you are going to be hitting a lot of balls. That you are going to have to, you know, grind out a lot of points with him. For the most part, I think it is important to be able to go and attack him. I think that Thomas doesn't like to play serve and volleyers all that much. So if you are able to stay with him from the back and then, you know, also be aggressive and win a good percentage of the points that way, then I think you are going to breakdown his game a little bit. But Thomas has always been a really tough competitor out there. Regardless of where he is on any surface and he is willing to grind out a lot of the matches no matter where he is, as far as scorewise and stuff, so in many ways he is out there just fighting 'til the last point which today was a pretty good example of that.

Q. Did you just describe yourself?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. No. I was-- actually I kind of looked at him a little bit funny when he said Michael and I are similar in that we are both counterpunchers. I think that was Michael Chang of old. I don't feel like I am a counter-puncher anymore. I think that I am able to go out and win a few more points at net now. And that has helped me out. Hopefully it will get better and better as years go by.

Q. What in your game today, Michael, disappointed you because it seems like you did hit a few at crucial times at the end of the match, you hit some groundstrokes that were uncharacteristically --

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I think I was just pressing a little bit too much there. I had a few forehands that he went for and it wasn't really that close to making them. I think I should have -- I think I should have picked a few better shots to hit and play a little bit more patient at the end. I think on those particular -- on points that I had, on matchpoints, you know, I think I had a few opportunities; I should have pressed him a little bit more. I should have been able to -- I should have got in and made him hit a passing shot in order for him to win that point, but wasn't able to get there play aggressive tennis. He was, during those points, he was dictating the shots from the baseline. Just didn't help me out. So, but overall, it was a very close match and a match that you hope doesn't happen too often in your career when you have matchpoints. But obviously, they will happen. But, yeah, from here on out, no more matches with matchpoints and losing them. I think it was a good match and the crowd was nice which was a lot of fun, so. . . .

Q. After the first set, Michael, did you adjust your game?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the first set was a little bit -- I think I was sleeping a little the first set. Got a pretty good wake-up call. Just wasn't into it very much in the first set and Thomas always comes out ready to go, ready to play and I think that was my mistake today in that first set. I think it wasn't until the second set where I started to get things going and I really became fighting from there.

Q. What is your reaction or comment on the comment Agassi made last night? They announced the Davis Cup team; that he and Pete are up there playing, I think his quote was he would like to see Michael Chang step up and make an attempt to play Davis Cup.

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think that was exactly his quote.

Q. He said we need Michael?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think that was his quote either. I read the transcript this morning and I didn't take it in either of those modes. I felt like as far as Andre is concerned, I think he was a little bit out of context in order to say that. Reason being is that I only heard after the press conference yesterday that Pete and Jim -- or Andre and Pete were going to play. I was never notified as far as any kind of meeting that the three of them had as far as Davis Cup was concerned. I don't know if there was some other things that that they were talking about, but I was not included in that process and nobody ever approached me. I did talk to Tom last week, actually, and discussed with him about Davis Cup and he mentioned, you know, nothing as far as the guys are getting together here that I am aware of. So I think that, you know, for Andre to make that comment is a little bit out of context. But I do think that it is good that the one and two players are going down to Italy. I think that is good for tennis. It is good for American tennis; obviously, it is very good for the Davis Cup and for the USTA.

Q. Is there any discussion between you and Tom about you playing or was it not in that stage at all?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that Tom was checking the availability of everybody. I think that at that particular time -- I don't know exactly what went on. Obviously, something went on that I was not aware of because in Philadelphia Andre was saying this and that about USTA; particularly, I think, maybe even a little bit about Les Snyder himself, the process for choosing sites and problems that the players have had with the USTA, and then all of a sudden I read the paper this morning and it is just a total contrast - Andre saying, well Les is out there trying to make things the best for the players and he really cares about the players and I don't even think I have met the gentleman, so, you know, it is a little bit tricky for me. At this time I really kind of don't know where I fit in there - if I fit in there at all. I have not played Davis Cup since 1990 and I don't know if the players have decided to play because the USTA has made some changes that I am not aware of or what -- But that is something that will definitely unfold within the next week or so. And if somebody doesn't, you know, I think then I am going to do a little bit of research and find out some things.

Q. Do you want to play Davis Cup?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that that is important. Davis Cup is something that I think all the players want to play, honestly speaking; I think that, you know, over the past few years it has been a little bit difficult to play Davis Cup because, you know, like some of the things that I have mentioned and I think that the guys enjoy coming together to play as a team and it is something that that is very unique to tennis. The guys out on the Tour, they are out there; everything is such an individual thing. This Davis Cup is something where the guys can come together as a team, to represent the country, represent the team represent themselves, and it is a very unique situation, and I think it works well for all the American players.

Q. When you talked to Tom and he asked about your availability, what did you tell him?

MICHAEL CHANG: I told him that I was not going to be available to play for him because I didn't feel that I had enough time to prepare and Davis Cup is something that you don't take lightly. If I am in the latter stages of Key Biscayne, I have literally three days to make the transition from hard court to clay and for me, that is not my way of doing things. I like to be prepared for things; particularly if you are going -- when you represent your country, you want to go out and play your best tennis.

Q. Michael, would you prefer to have a situation as Stefan Edberg spoke about today where you commit for a whole year; you are committed so, you know right from the start you are committed or do you prefer a step by step basis, because what you are saying today seems to be a little bit that you kind of feel a little left out of this process?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I never wanted it to be a step by step thing. I always wanted it so that, you know, everybody felt like they were a part of something. I didn't want -- I never wanted guys to feel that because they didn't play this Tie that they are not part of the team anymore. That shouldn't be the case because, you know, very seldom in the United States, for example, is one person going to be playing all four Ties unless it is like the doubles teams. With the other countries, you can do that because they only have two players to choose from. And they are dedicated for the whole year. The U.S. is a little bit different. You have so many guys to choose from. It does make it difficult when, you know, things are put up in the air as far as, well, are we going to play here; are we going to play there; on what surface; it's much easier if you go out throughout the beginning of the year and have everybody on the team just way everybody knows that if the guys are playing, and somebody gets hurt, you know, it's not a surprise that you are called up to sub in for that person if that person gets injured, and I think that that is the way to do things, in my opinion. I know that that was a frustrating thing for Tom Gorman, in that process, during those years. You know, so yeah. . .

Q. Because the implication here is that you have kind of said, I am not available; I am not, you know, I am not -- I am not around to help out and what you seem to be saying now is that you would like to know beforehand, okay, we are all on the team; there are six of us; we are on the team for this year; we don't know who is going to play; when is that -- what you are saying is you are more comfortable with the team named for the year?

MICHAEL CHANG: I am comfortable, if you have all the guys sit down at the beginning of the year and say, well, if we play against, you know, this country or that country, then, you know, this person is available or this person is available, and I just think that you -- our position, with the way that the scheduling is, I just think sometimes it can be difficult to have one or two players play throughout the year. And I don't think that is the case -- I don't think that everyone wants to play throughout -- for all four Ties. I think everybody would want -- probably want to play in the finals because that is probably the easiest schedule being in December. But you know --

Q. He is out of line to intimate that you are not committed to Davis Cup; that you don't really care about participating?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, I think that that is very -- I think he is definitely out of context to say that, you know, I think -- it is not like I haven't played Davis Cup before, you know, and I think that Andre is a little bit out of context to say that, yeah.

Q. One of the things that Les Snyder - I just came from the USTA meeting - and one of the things that Les Snyder stressed and emphasized that both players made the commitment on the premise that they would have -- they would be able to give input. He stressed that.

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, that should have been in the first place. I mean, the players should be able to have that input. That was the frustrating thing about the first Tie. All the guys wanted it on the west coast and even Tom Gullikson wanted it on the west coast and USTA said they couldn't find a site to do it, which is strange, because you have got so many great tournaments on the west coast and I think that was pretty frustrating for the players. And the players in the first place, should have that input because they are the guys that are playing and, particularly, if they are playing at home, they want the best conditions for their tennis, and, you know, it is just -- that is the way it should be. That is where the home court advantage kind of comes into play. Should take advantage of that.

Q. After a loss like this, after a match like this that is so tight, what do you and your coach do coaching-wise; look at a tape; talk about the match; how do you work together after?

MICHAEL CHANG: We will definitely talk about it. Talk about some of the things that I did well; some of the things that I didn't do well and also for Thomas, I think we always try to go back and try to analyze where things went wrong or what things worked and what didn't work.

Q. Spend a lot of time on that?

MICHAEL CHANG: It varies from match to match. I think even on the matches that I do that I win, it is still under the same process that we go through. We are trying to constantly trying to improve.

Q. Did you have any physical problems out there today, Michael, or was it just that you -- when you had the matchpoints --

MICHAEL CHANG: No physical problems today.

Q. Michael, you say that you are going to look into it and checking things out over the next week or so regarding this Davis Cup business. Would that be directly with the USTA and also will you take the matter up with Andre or just drop it?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is not my position to take it up with Andre. I am not out here trying to -- I am not going to try to say what Andre did is wrong. We are not out here to do that. I am not out here to make enemies. I think under this thing, it is a team effort. The thing is you have got a lot of great American players and I think under this scenario it's a very unique situation because you don't have -- I can't remember the last few years where you have had so many guys in the top 10 who are capable of playing such good tennis. I think under this circumstance, we should take advantage of something like this because theoretically, on paper, U.S. should be winning Davis Cup on just about year after year because the depth in Americans tennis is so great and I am not going I -- I think that this is a great opportunity for the USTA to get involved. Here we are growing up; playing against each other, playing all USTA events and this is a great opportunity to be a part of that. I think you hate to see something like this kind of dwindle away.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.


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