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March 14, 2000

Michael Chang


GREG SHARKO: Questions for Michael.

Q. Can you talk a bit about your match today?

MICHAEL CHANG: It actually felt good to be out there. I've been excited to play this event. You know, I know that Juan is a good player. I practiced with him in New Zealand. I know he had a good week last week. By all means, it's a good win for me.

Q. Can you talk about your match tomorrow going against Magnus?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, Magnus and I have -- the last couple times we've played, we've had a couple tough matches. He's been able to squeak things out at the end. I've had my opportunities. Tomorrow is another opportunity, you know, a match that I'm looking forward to.

Q. It looks like you're looking forward to get that chance again.

MICHAEL CHANG: You always look forward to the next opportunity, the next chance for the opportunity to play someone you've lost to. I know he's playing well. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Have you cut down on your weight-lifting program?

MICHAEL CHANG: Can you tell (laughter)? I feel strong. I feel strong. But, yeah, I have. I think it has helped me tremendously, not just that, but to change my whole way of going about training. I think it's definitely helped me to get to the ball a little bit better. I know that if I'm able to do that, that gives me an opportunity, a chance to be able to do something with the ball. If I can't get to the ball, then I don't have a chance at all. It's something that I've learned. Hopefully, I'll never go back to doing that. I think everyone is a bit different. My size and stature, God didn't make me a big guy, by all means I'm not going to go out there to win matches by overpowering players or bombing 140-mile-per-hour serves. It's just not my style.

Q. What are your thoughts on the new facility?

MICHAEL CHANG: It's beautiful. It's gorgeous. I was telling Mark Miles yesterday, I said, "If you're setting the standard for the rest of the Masters Series events for the rest of the year, all the other tournaments have a tough act to follow. Obviously it's been a lot of hard work put into this event. I was here last year during the groundbreaking. I think they've done an amazing job to get this up within a year. I heard the last three or four weeks they were pushing some things. But it's great to see. I haven't heard one complaint the whole time that I've been here from players or from anybody, really. Yeah, definitely a job well done.

Q. Last year at that groundbreaking, dusty desert, now it's this gleaming stadium. Do you have any thoughts on how they turned that around in such a quick time?

MICHAEL CHANG: It's a little bit difficult for me to comprehend. I know my brother, Carl, has been doing a small addition on his house. Six months has gone by and it's still not done. You definitely get a lot of manpower, a lot of planning. As far as I know, this complex is not yet done. We'll see what they're going to do over the next year. This is really wonderful for the sport of tennis, I think for everyone that comes here to watch this event. You don't just get local people that are here, but so many people from different parts of the nation, even from Mercer Island. It's great to see that kind of enthusiasm, that kind of excitement.

Q. Let me throw out two facts, hopefully I've got them right. Andre Agassi, first-round loser here, never won here. Michael Chang, first-round winner, three-time champion here.

MICHAEL CHANG: Andre and I are different. I don't really want to go out and compare myself with Andre. I don't think he really wants to do the same. You could easily say that. But then Andre could say, "I have five or six Grand Slams under my belt, Mike only has one." When you come down to it, Andre and I, we come out and try to play the best tennis we can play. For me, I think what Andre has accomplished in his career is great. I think for me, I don't feel like it's important so much to compare, but just to go out and give my all. Whenever that falls, then great. It's a disappointment for the tournament to lose the No. 1 player, having played so well for the last year, year and a half. Sometimes that's just the way things go.

Q. What are going to be some of your keys tomorrow against Magnus?

MICHAEL CHANG: You're definitely going to have a lot of long points, a lot of tough rallies. I know that it's going to be important for me to serve much better tomorrow than I did today. Magnus has got a good first serve and likes to hit his forehand. It's going to be important for me to work around that or go after that, you know, go out and take it to him.

Q. One of the hottest players these days is Lleyton Hewitt. Have you seen him play? Could you comment on his game? Does some of his speed and retrieving ability remind you of you?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I've never played against Lleyton. I've practiced with him. I know, obviously everybody can see his tenacity, his fighting capabilities. He's not the biggest guy, but he's a smart player. He's quick around the court, and he's solid off the ground. Like you said, he's one of the hottest players right now on the tour, playing very, very well. I'm sure all the guys in the locker room are taking note of that. He's still relatively new on Tour. The more he plays, the more familiar the rest of us will come to know his game. Yeah, he's a tough player.

Q. I know you don't like to look back too much, but if you had to change one thing in your career, what would that be?

MICHAEL CHANG: One thing in my career? I don't know. It's hard to say. I can tell you that I'd like to change some of the mistakes that I made. But then again, part of growing and part of being human is making mistakes and being able to learn from your mistakes. I think in many ways the tough times that I've gone through, some partly having to be because of mistakes, it's helped me to grow as a person, as an individual. The funny thing is that God takes your good and your bad, and still somehow he's able to make it good out of all of it. That's the wonderful thing. I mean, there are always things that you'd like to take back, but obviously you can't do that anymore. You learn from them and you correct them, you ask forgiveness of those people that you've wronged. From there, you move on. I don't know if that answers your questions or not.

Q. You don't have regrets, going to the long body, going for the bigger serve?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I can't say I do.

Q. In Harare, there were people handing out leaflets from you, Christian groups. Is that something you're aware of? Did they probably get quotes from someone?

MICHAEL CHANG: That is not something I'm aware of. If word spreads that way, then great. I've gotten actually a lot of letters from South Africa, a lot of Christian people there, a lot of encouragement there. I think it's great to see. I think for me, I feel a certain closeness to professional athletes who profess their faith. This is really our ministry, a way in which we're able to touch people's lives for the Lord. By all means, if we're able to do it by being on a tennis court or speaking to people or by pamphlets to other people or word-of-mouth, then all the better. I think when people are able to hear the good news, it really touches hearts and changes hearts definitely for the better.

Q. Would you like to play Davis Cup again?

MICHAEL CHANG: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Q. How would you find playing for John?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it would be pretty exciting. I think John's a pretty intense guy. You know he's going to be there behind you. I've always gotten along pretty well with John. Actually, I've gotten along better after I've beaten him than before. I think John has a certain closeness to the American players, particularly the players that are approaching 30. He has a particular closeness there because for us, growing up in tennis, we've watched him play. We watched him play the '80 final against Borg in Wimbledon, these classical matches. In certain aspects, we are able to identify with him. He's obviously able to identify with us. There's a certain respect there for the things that he has accomplished.

Q. Has he talked to you about playing Davis Cup on particular surfaces?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, no. I have not talked to John since prior to Harare.

Q. This may be a touchy subject. Has Prince renewed your contract?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, they have not.

Q. I'm sorry to ask, but are you still playing with their frames?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I'm still playing with Prince racquets.

Q. Do you think you'll switch or seek another contract?

MICHAEL CHANG: That's something that we'll have to wait to see how things go. I think for me, obviously I'm not going to make any kind of change unless I know it's for the better. I'm 28 years old now. I don't think it's in my best interest to go to fiddle around with a new racquet unless I'm absolutely a hundred percent confident it is a better racquet. For the time being, I'm happy with what I'm using.

Q. Obviously they've been going through a lot of changes. Did that kind of hurt after all these years?

MICHAEL CHANG: It did a little bit. I think what maybe hurt the most is that I've been very close -- obviously I've had a relationship with Prince for a very long time. What I miss actually is the family of Prince. I've really had a great relationship, even as Juniors, with Lark and Tory Baxter, Max Brownly, Linda.

Q. Margin?

MICHAEL CHANG: Rick Margin, Steve Davis, Charlie. I've had really a great relationship with them. It's to the point where we have fishing outings, we'll go out to eat together sometimes. It really was not so much -- it was more of a family than anything else. I think what hurt maybe the most is that everyone's gone now.

Q. How about Dave Holland, are you close with him?

MICHAEL CHANG: I'm not, no. The only person that is actually left is Steve Davis, and he's in Italy. I know everyone else has gone on. Wendy Miller was part of that, too. Those people I still -- when we run into each other, we know there's a certain closeness there. We know that that has gone on for many, many years. Even though we don't work together professionally as far as racquets go, there's still a certain closeness there that we're really good friends.

End of FastScripts….

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