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August 11, 1999

Michael Chang


Q. What does it mean to get one now?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, obviously it feels great. Today wasn't an easy match; had to fight some tough points out there. It definitely feels good. Alex is a great player. He's been having some very good success over the past couple years. To be able to go out and do well against him was good for me.

Q. What was the difference between the first two sets and the third one?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the second set was pretty tight the whole way through. There weren't any service breaks. Alex was coming up with some pretty amazing shots. I don't know if you see the way some of his backhands were hit, he actually looks like he's hitting it with the other side of the face rather than the face he's supposed to hit it with. He hit some good shots. The tiebreaker was close. Just wasn't able to close him out there. You know, third set things started to swing my way a little bit. I was able to go out and play some good tennis.

Q. Why do you think things were going your way?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think I was able to attack him effectively. I think I was winning a good percentage of my points attacking him. I think it was good to keep him off balance. I was able to get those couple breaks, which helped obviously. I think that was pretty key. I kept my errors down to a minimum. Against a guy like Alex, he's not going to make a whole lot of errors, you have to go out and force him to either make errors or go out there and really hit winners against him.

Q. Odd you two (inaudible) played on Tour so long?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is very odd. I felt it was a little bit odd. I never got a chance to play Mats Wilander either. He was on Tour quite awhile and I never got a chance to play him. It is a bit odd.

Q. Some of the tennis players talk about their confidence, when they lose, their confidence is shattered. In your situation, when you play a guy like this, does that shoot up your confidence even more than if it's just another guy?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I think so, a little bit. I think whenever you are able to beat a guy in the Top 10, it adds a little bit of, you know, confidence to your game definitely. But at the same time, I feel like at this point, you know, my career and my confidence can only go one way. You know, I feel like each win for me, whether it's against a guy in the Top 10 or whether it's a guy in the Top 100 or 200 for me is good. You know, all these matches are important for me to get going on the right track.

Q. Yesterday you beat a guy that was ranked higher than you, but he wasn't a Top 10. You now beat a guy in the Top 10. You must feel you're on your way.

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel it's a step in the right direction. I think maybe it's a little bit different for me maybe because I've been on Tour for so long. It's not odd for me to play a guy in the Top 10. You know whenever you come to a Super 9 like Cincinnati, the field that it gets, sooner or later you're going to run into a tough opponent. You know, the draw is so tough, the depth is so great. I think maybe part of it is that I've been on Tour for a while and I'm familiar with the guys who have been in the Top 10. It's not a new experience for me. Nonetheless, it's a good confidence booster.

Q. Are there other reasons why you come here?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think for me, I enjoy the surroundings very much. I enjoy the stadium and the people very much. I think that - not to knock on some of the other Super 9's or something - but if you were to compare Cincinnati to maybe some of the other Super 9's that struggle to get some of the top players to go there, there are reasons for it, whether it's weather or whether it's differing things. But I think whenever I've been here in Cincinnati, the depth of players has always been very great. You've always had the best players here, with the exception of maybe someone not coming for, you know, reasons like injury, like Philippoussis this year, you know. But I think it goes to show you that Cincinnati is a place that the players really enjoy and somebody is doing a great job. Paul and all his staff, the volunteers, make it easy.

Q. Does the golf course have anything to do with it?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the golf course probably for some of the players, maybe not so much for me. I've actually never been to Kings Island.

Q. Do you ever in the course of a match here or on a court think, "It's a close match, but it's my court, I do well here"? Does that not enter your mind?

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel a little bit more comfortable in certain places than other places, for sure. I think definitely Hong Kong is one of those places. I feel very at home there. Whether it has to do with the people, the food or what have you, just Victoria Park, you know, I've played there so many times, I feel like -- I just feel in some ways it's kind of like my backyard, you know, because people are so warm toward me. There are other places that I don't feel quite as warm. But then again if you would ask some of the other players, it's kind of like their tournament. I think that's pretty fair to say for all players.

Q. In the event you play Jim, can you talk about that?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, it's definitely going to be a very tough match. Jim and I, we've had some pretty good battles over the years, actually a couple good battles here in Cincinnati even. It's not going to be an easy match. Obviously going to be a lot of long points, a lot of tough points. We know each other's games very well. It's going to come down to who is able to hit their shots effectively and do what they want to do. Yeah, definitely I know I'm going to have to play some of my best tennis.

Q. Did your mind set change at all when you got that early break in the third set?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I was trying to keep the pressure on him and hopefully just trying to get another break, which I did. It's always nice to get a little bit of a buffer. If you have the momentum, you always want to try to keep that momentum going.

Q. Are you sorry you never played Mats Wilander?

MICHAEL CHANG: A little bit. I would have loved to actually have played Borg, too. Yeah, it is something that I do wish I had the opportunity to play, win or lose. I think when you have great players and you've watched them growing up playing, you know, everybody else I've gotten a chance to play, Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, some of the greats.

Q. Are you looking forward to playing the senior circuit?

MICHAEL CHANG: Are they going to have a senior senior tour (laughter)? I don't know. I don't see myself playing the senior tour, to be honest with you. It's a little different, a little different. I think they're running a great show there, but I think I don't see myself playing.

End of FastScripts….

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