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August 29, 2000

Michael Chang


MODERATOR: Questions for Michael.

Q. Give us a sense of how you feel after the first-round match. Are you happy with how you played? Where is your game as of now?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it's always important to get the first one under the belt. Today it wasn't an easy match. Harel has been playing some good tennis this summer. It's kind of weird. I had a feeling, when I saw I was going to play a qualifier, I thought I was going to play him for some strange reason. I lost to him last year in a challenger. I had a little bit of an idea of how he played. Tonight was a tough match. I'm pretty pleased with the way things went.

Q. Where do you think your game sort of stands right now this summer?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think tonight got off to a good start. You know, the summer has been a little bit mixed for me. I had a really good win in LA. It was great to be able to get back on the winning side. I feel like things are coming along, heading in the right direction. Yeah, tonight was definitely a good stepping stone.

Q. The other day Pete talked about when he was young, he was consumed with tennis. He used the word "consumed." He was consumed with being No. 1, with Grand Slams. While he still wants to win, that consumption level is down. Would you classify where you are now, are you still as consumed with the game as you were when you were younger? Is that different? If so, how is that different?

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel like I'm a little bit different. Strangely enough, I feel that the times I am consumed by tennis, some times where I focused so much of my life upon tennis, are the times where I do the worst, strangely enough. For me, I realize that it's important to be balanced in all aspects of life for me. For me, that's physical, mental, spiritual. For me, it's important that I'm balanced in every way. When I'm under those circumstances. That's when I've played my best tennis. I have tried to just completely focus upon tennis and really give it my all, really give it my hundred percent. When I've done that, I've had terrible results. For me, it doesn't work for me. For me, it's important that I have a good balance in my life.

Q. Are you at a point now where you feel a good balance in your life?

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel like I'm getting there. I feel like I'm getting there. I think one of the things, when you're kind of consumed a little bit, tennis affects all the other aspects of your life, I think sometimes for me at least, I found that I get to a point where I need to let go a little bit. Yeah, I need to sometimes not try so hard. I think, if anything, I try too hard. Maybe in the long run that sometimes hurts me.

Q. If your career was to end tomorrow, today, would you consider what you've done in the sport -- would you be fulfilled with what you've done in the sport? If not, in the balance of your life, what would you still like to do?

MICHAEL CHANG: There are still things I would like to accomplish tennis-wise, obviously. I think if I were to walk away from the game or retire, say, tomorrow, I would feel like I've had a pretty darn good career, nothing that I need to be ashamed about or have regrets. I don't feel that way at all.

Q. What Andre did last year, did that inspire you?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think it's inspiration for everybody, to be quite honest with you. I realized that it's not easy when you've had your ups and your downs. It's not easy to pick yourself back up, particularly where you had a couple years where you really struggled. That was really Andre's case. I think it's an inspiration for a lot of people, whether you're a tennis player or not.

Q. There will be blood drug testing at the Olympic Games about EPO. Are you in favor of that in tennis? What do you think about it?

MICHAEL CHANG: That's the first I've heard.

Q. It's official.

MICHAEL CHANG: Is that right?

Q. We were informed yesterday.

MICHAEL CHANG: To me, as long as it's not before my match. If it's after you're out, stuff like that, it's fine by me. If they feel that's the only way they can be sure that everybody is playing by the rules, that's fine by me.

Q. Where do you place the importance of the Olympics versus the Grand Slams? Were you a kid who watched the Olympics? Was it something you wanted to be a part of, to be part of the opening ceremonies?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it's a little different growing up. Growing up, tennis was not part of the Olympics. When you're grown up, playing tennis, obviously you take interest in the Olympics. Tennis is something you realize is a sport that you have interest in. You don't really dream so much about playing the Olympics because tennis is not really a sport there. Obviously, things have changed a little bit. Things have definitely -- I think the Olympics has definitely gained a lot more interest for tennis players. I think you can tell that pretty much by the field it has this year. So I think that's a good thing. I think it's definitely gaining popularity. I think it would still be difficult to put it in the same category as a Grand Slam, for example, because the Grand Slams have been around for so long and have really their place and niche in tennis. It's definitely gaining momentum.

Q. Does it surprise you at all that an athlete would opt not to go, speaking specifically of tennis players?

MICHAEL CHANG: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think it really depends on the person. Obviously depends on the schedule, too. Scheduling can be very tough. I mean, I would have to say it depends on the person.

End of FastScripts….

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