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November 20, 1992

Michael Chang


Q. Michael, on the basis of what you have seen and who you have played against, who do you suspect to win the tournament?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think of the three players that I have played, I'd say that Goran is probably the strongest at this point. I think, you know, things can change as the tournament goes on. My match with Richard really could have gone either way, and today against Jim, I had quite a few opportunities to break and he came up with some great serves. I think maybe if he -- against maybe some of the other guys, really -- he hasn't served all that well up until today. I was watching a couple of the other matches and he didn't serve as well. I think that is going to become a key factor for Jim. I think other than that, I really can't say about the other group, because to play them and to watch them is a totally different thing.

Q. Jim clearly isn't in best form. Do you think he is playing well enough to win? Do you get the feeling he had confidence today?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is tough to go and to beat the top guys in consecutive matches if you are not playing great tennis. But I think that as tournaments go on, the guys tend to play better and better tennis, and I think that it depends if Jim can really put his game together or not. Other than that, I think you have a few players who are obviously playing very, very well at the moment. I think that the surface is going to work against Jim a little bit being that Jim plays from the back a little bit more, and it is a little bit more difficult to return serve, so I think you take that into consideration, you know, I think that Jim being No. 1, he has the mental toughness to obviously win here in Frankfurt, but I don't think it is going to be easy for him or really for anybody else.

Q. Are you disappointed?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, actually I feel pretty good. I feel that as this year comes to a close, I feel that I have made progress in certain areas of my game, and I think that my ranking has shown that, and I am excited about the upcoming off-season and I'll work on a few more things and hopefully come back in 1993 a stronger and better player.

Q. What are your plans from now, onwards?

MICHAEL CHANG: Onwards, I will play the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, and really that is about it for the rest of the year. I will be spending some time at home and maybe do a little bit of fishing and take it easy and open up a few presents, buy a few presents, and --

Q. Australian Open?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, that is on my calendar. That is on my schedule.

Q. Michael, when you lose in a Grand Slam, that is usually pretty hard to take; sort of tough to accept, and move on. Right now, you are eliminated but I don't get the feeling that you are really all upset about the idea of it. Is there a big, big gap between what this tournament means to the players and what a Grand Slam means to them?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, I don't think so. I think that -- I think that each tournament is special in its own way. That is why I feel that it is difficult to say that one Grand Slam is better than another. I think when it comes to certain things, maybe one is better than the other, but I think when you come to particular Grand Slams over another, it is just really not -- you can't really compare it because they are so different.

Q. I don't mean the Slams. You, right now, in this tournament which is supposed to be a very, very tournament with the points, it is important. How do you compare the way you feel now after as to how you feel after a Slam loss?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is kind of difficult for me to say because this is only my second year that I have played and I think that to be here is very -- you feel very special to be a part of this group. I think to come out on top here really plays in some of the players' minds and the players know that whoever comes out a winner here is able to go out and play some darn good tennis against the top guys and are capable of beating them. And I think that as far as like comparing it to a Grand Slam, I don't think you can really do that in a sense, because they are just -- it is just so different, 8 guys versus 128 guys, and I think I take into consideration, other than the top 8, the other 120 guys; you have some darn good players there. But I think this group is very unique in that aspect as far as being the top 8, so, I don't know if that answers your question or not. Probably not. But --

Q. What is your opinion on Frankfurt as the host of this final?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think what is great about having it here in Frankfurt -- just being here for a few days -- I think first of all, the crowds have been very great, very -- the stadium has been full; the crowds have been very energetic, very supportive and very much -- what I call -- you can feel them there. I think that it was a good change from New York. New York, I think, for some reason, the U.S. Open is really the one that is special there. And the Masters, although you had, you know, the 8 top guys, as far as points were concerned, you -- there was something missing; you didn't get the full, you know, the full crowds, and they didn't really come out like they do in the U.S. Open, which was kind of frustrating because, the top guys like to be able to have that atmosphere, that is what makes tennis very special and very fun, is that when you have the crowds there, you have them going wild on certain occasions, and it makes for a lot better tennis environment. So I think that, you know, coming here to Frankfurt -- this being my first time -- they treated the players first class, and one of the few tournaments that you get your own lockerroom. Some of the other places, you know, the lockerrooms can be pretty small. You have quite a few guys sharing the lockerrooms. They have gone out of their way to make this a really -- for the professional, and I think that they should be commended on that.

Q. Part of the problem in New York was the Americans stopped winning at the end. The last five years I remember it was also Ivan who is an American now, but wasn't then; Boris and Stefan.

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know. I don't know if you can really say that, because I mean they came out to watch the U.S. Open, I mean, I don't know -- when Ivan won it three years in a row, they didn't stop coming out because Ivan was at that time still Czechoslovakian. I don't know. Maybe they like the airplanes, I don't know.

Q. Michael, what do you think by putting a so fast surface here, in some -- there is danger to make the tennis on claycourt a second class tennis because the players come in here and they cannot win.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that is partly true. It does create a little bit more difficult for the claycourt player because, you know, clay is really a totally different game. Although it is still tennis, it is totally different. The ball doesn't bounce as fast and you have more time to hit the ball and longer rallies and the bounce is very high. It is very, very different. I think that -- I think it is one thing -- you get a few claycourt players who don't even really try to play some of the hardcourt events or some of the indoor season, they just play clay all year long. I think that that is where you have to make certain adjustments in your game in order to accommodate the faster surfaces. For me, I was a little bit doing better on some of the slower surfaces. I had a good year on the clay in '89 and I realized that it became difficult do play on some of the faster surfaces and I adjusted my game accordingly. This year I didn't do so well on the clay, but I think that it is easier making adjustment from faster surface to slower surface than vice versa.

Q. How long have you been wearing this belt for your back?

MICHAEL CHANG: I have been wearing it on and off -- I don't have any problem with my back or anything. No scoliosis or anything like that. It is just sometimes the weather gets cold and when it gets cold your muscles tend to stiffen up a little bit. So 20 years old, I don't have that problem.

End of FastScripts....

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