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August 11, 2003

Michael Chang


MODERATOR: Questions for Michael.

Q. You were really pumped in the tiebreaker in the second set. When you didn't get that, was there an emotional letdown a little bit?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, a little bit. You know, you're serving for the match, then you get a matchpoint, it's a little bit discouraging. Then just for some reason, the old energy level kind of went down. Hicham picked up his game a little bit, and the third set went pretty quick. I think I got a little bit nervous serving for it at 6-5. I threw in a couple doubles. That really didn't help my cause too much.

Q. How much would it have meant to you to be able to win one, two matches here, your last tournament here?

MICHAEL CHANG: You know, obviously from here on out, every match I'm able to win is a good thing. You know, I think whether it's, you know, one match or two matches, I don't know if it really makes that much of a difference. Obviously, it's great to be able to still compete in a city that you love competing at. So, you know, hopefully, I'll be able to win a couple matches at the Open, you know. Last year I was able to win a couple matches, and it was a good thing. But, you know, this year, just came up a little bit short.

Q. When you were out there the first set, a lot of that second set, making shots and coming to the net, were you having fun? Was it different than it has been for some of these matches this year?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I think that, you know, for the most part I was, you know, having fun out there. I think that's pretty much my goal the last few tournaments, just to really come out and be able to enjoy myself whether I come off the court having won or lost. Obviously, it's a little more fun when you win than when you lose but, you know, I think it's, you know, it's important to have a good perspective, a good attitude out there. The last thing you want to do is to walk away from your career and, you know, not feel good about being out there. You know, it's very easy to look at the negative sides of things rather than the positive and the blessings that, you know, really have taken place over the last 16 years.

Q. You've picked some of your favorite tournaments on this final farewell tour. What are you going to remember most about Cincinnati?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the people. I would say the people have been special for me here. I think the warmth that I know that I feel whenever I'm here in Cincinnati, whether I'm in a tournament site or even off site, people have been very accommodating, very supportive, very encouraging. And that's really, you know, a great feeling. You always want to go back to places that you know you're welcome. And, generally speaking, you play some of your best tennis there. Cincinnati has definitely been that for me.

Q. When you're having those competitive moments on the court and you hear the crowd rally around you, how does that make you feel?

MICHAEL CHANG: It feels good. It feels good. I think that a lot of times they're able to kind of give you a little bit extra boost, a little extra adrenaline. I can recall many times where I've been down in matches and the crowd really kind of got behind me and I was able to pull out some great wins here. So, you know, the crowd definitely plays a role out there so...

Q. With only one more tournament left, is there relief, sadness? What do you think going into the Open?

MICHAEL CHANG: It's a little bit bittersweet but, you know, I'm excited about it. I'm excited about playing the Open and finishing my career there. I pretty much started my career there as a 15-year-old playing as an amateur in 1987, so I feel like it's a pretty fitting place to be able to finish my career. You know, the Open is the only tournament that I will have played 17 times in my career. So, yeah, I feel good about my decision. I think it's the right decision for me and, yeah...

Q. I'm curious. What do you hope that they write about Michael Chang in the history books? You're winding down your career. You started off with a big bang in Paris, and, you know, you've had some good success. You've always been a crowd favorite here. What do you hope that they write about your career as a whole down the road?

MICHAEL CHANG: You know, I don't know if that's really for me to say. You know, everyone has their different opinions and, you know, I think I'll let them decide that. You know, I know that -- I know that the Lord has given me this talent and I've tried to use it to the best possible way that I could, and, you know, hopefully along the way I've touched some lives.

Q. Any disappointments or regrets with the career? Obviously, you want to win more tournaments.

MICHAEL CHANG: Sure, I mean, there are certain things that you wish you may/would have done a little bit different. But for the most part, I don't really have a whole lot of regrets. You know, in all honesty when I first came out on tour, I don't think I ever really imagined playing professional tennis at this level, you know, much less to win a Grand Slam and be able to be in the Top 5 for quite some time. You know, I don't think that I ever -- those kinds of things you dream about, but I don't know if I ever really, really believed it. So I think the things that have actually happened in my life, you know, far outweigh what I would have ever expected. I think that probably goes the same for my family and probably for the rest of you, too.

Q. Does it help playing a few more tournaments now towards the end of this season going into the Open? It seems like you're playing them closer together.

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I've tried to play a few more tournaments. I didn't go over to Wimbledon, tried to have a little bit more time to prepare for the hard court season. I've tried to get a few more matches in. They haven't worked out quite the way that I would have hoped, but that was the initial plan going into the summer. I am looking, you know, possibility of playing next week just to get another match or two before going into the Open. I think if I'm able to maybe get a little bit more, few more matches in, maybe a 6-5 situation like today, I wouldn't have gotten a little bit nervous and probably - hopefully - would have been able to close out a match like today. So I think match toughness does definitely play a role, particularly at this level.

Q. With so many highlights of your lengthy career, do you have one particular moment that sticks out above others?

MICHAEL CHANG: It's tough to compare with the French Open. '89 was a great tournament for me. It's really tough to compare with '89.

End of FastScripts….

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