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August 10, 1999

Michael Chang


Q. How is your confidence level?

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel like it's getting a little bit better with each match. The last few weeks I've been able to put a few matches under my belt, which feels good. So I think when you're able to do that, definitely boosts your confidence.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: Definitely. I think if started my summer off a little bit earlier, and it definitely was good to get a few matches over there. That was really my purpose. And I was able to do that. I didn't want to go into the summer cold, because I missed the whole grasscourt season. I hadn't played a competitive match in quite a while. So at this level, if you're expecting to play your way into a tournament, you're just asking for trouble.

Q. With the success you've had, do you just feel a sense of calm come over to you when you drive in the tournament entrance here? Do you have a different feeling when you come to this tournament?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know if it's actually in this particular -- I feel a little different when I'm at the airport for some reason. You know, I think -- I don't know whether it's -- I come by Cincinnati a few times a year besides during this period of time. But for some reason when I come to Cincinnati, the airport is huge, and I know I'm in a place where I've had some good success. I think what probably helps me -- reminds me actually quite frequently is being able to talk to a lot of people. I talk to people as if I live here, almost, and that's kind of a neat feeling. It's like -- kind of like that home-town feeling where everyone kind of knows everybody, and that's the way I feel when I come here. The reception and hospitality I get is always very warm. That's definitely a good thing.

Q. When you say you come through the airport, do you mean you come through this airport a couple times a year?


Q. And people come up to you in the airports then?

MICHAEL CHANG: Sometimes. Sometimes.

Q. Do they say: "How are you doing?" "Hope everything is going good this year?"

MICHAEL CHANG: Sometimes. I don't know if those people are actually from Cincinnati. I get that in various airports. But I think it's hard to really explain. But definitely, when I come out on the site and play practice matches or practice points and stuff, just seeing so many people come out for practice, in many ways, it's kind of inspiring. I think in certain aspects, you feel like when you're out there on the practice court, you're playing a little bit of a simulated match, and that's good for me.

Q. Was this a flash of the younger Michael today? You were trading long, baseline rallies and winning most of them.

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I feel like I'm still pretty young.

Q. But the younger Michael of a few years ago; I didn't say you weren't young.

MICHAEL CHANG: I still feel like I'm younger. It felt good. It definitely felt good out there. I think, regardless, my matches are always matches where I'm having to run down a lot of balls, a lot of shots. That's just the way I play tennis. But I think it was good to definitely come out and hit some good shots today. You know, be able to feel good walking off the court.

Q. Do you feel as if there's going to be one match in this sequence that you're facing now as you try to get back to the younger Michael that one match is going to put you over, or is it going to be a whole series? Is there going to be a moment where everything falls into place and all of the sudden you are you again?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that's a little bit difficult to say. There have been times where I felt like I played a match, played a good match, and felt like: Okay, this is where it turns around. But I've said that to myself quite a few times this year. I think it's really difficult to say.

Q. More like you were floating around?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I wasn't able to play the way that I wanted to play. I think it's a little bit difficult to say. But I think once I'm able to look back at this period of time, and maybe I will be able to tell you that this particular match was really a turning point or this particular tournament. It's tough to say right now. But, you know, my concern isn't so much about that particular match. It's just getting through it regardless of whichever way I do it.

Q. Do you see that match against Rafter as a turning point --

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually, it's kind of odd, because I can't really say that that match was really a turning point. Maybe I can say, which is kind of odd, maybe the Davis Cup semifinal. Because I played well in that particular time in Washington, which was like a week later, two weeks later. And after that, I found it very difficult to win matches for the rest of the year. It's hard to say. But definitely those -- the U.S. Open was tough, and Davis Cup is always, you know, a bit draining.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, it was. If was it was. I felt like I definitely tried my best out there. But he was playing some good tennis. I was coming off of a couple five-setters, which didn't help me physically. But when you get that close to winning a Grand Slam title, and knowing you have a great opportunity to do so, I think it always hurts.

Q. How hard has the last year been? From the time basically that you got on the Tour, you've been a top player; you've been near the top. Has it been difficult to sort of have this perspective on the Tour?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that what's been difficult is I've gone through some things over the past couple years that I haven't gone through in my career. I think for one, I've been pretty consistent throughout my career. My results have been pretty consistent. I've had maybe like, you know, a few early-round losses here and there, but normally, I'm able to turn it around the following week. And I think that's been something new to me. And on top of that, I haven't had really serious -- very serious injuries to deal with either. My mentality was: Okay, serious injury; treat it like any other injury. Once it's healed and everything, jump back and expect everything to be normal. And that just doesn't happen. So I've dealt with those two things. And you know, I think that those things have been a little bit difficult to deal with, because it's something that has been new to me. But I've definitely learned a lot. I think I've grown a lot. And perspective and, realize how important perspective and attitude is as far as your frame of mind and how you look at things.

Q. When you get out of bed in the morning, can you say that you have the same desire that you've had before?

MICHAEL CHANG: I do. Actually, it's funny because I feel like I have more desire now. I don't know whether I have more desire because -- whether I realize because I'm older, or whether it's because I know that this is a period of time that I need to really fight through. Or the flipside, whether it's have to go do with having come so close to achieving some goals that I have tennis-wise and coming up a little bit short. I feel like there's a certain amount of determination. I honestly think that if I had gone and became No. 1 and had won the U.S. Open or something like that, I think it would be very -- a lot easier to say: Okay, well, we've accomplished these things, and maybe it is time to hang things up. But I feel like if I were to quit now, I feel like my career would be left unfinished. And definitely, I would walk away with -- from the game with a lot of regret. So maybe those things, they are negative things in certain aspects, having not accomplished them yet. But maybe they are positives now in helping me to get up in the morning and still be hungry.

Q. Do you have more outside interests?

MICHAEL CHANG: What do you mean, outside interests?

Q. Away from tennis.

MICHAEL CHANG: Basketball.

Q. Things like hockey?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that now -- I think now they are probably -- there are probably less outside interests than there have been. I'm trying to think maybe in some aspects, tennis-wise, maybe that's good. It helps me maybe to concentrate a little bit more and work through this period of time. But as far as hobbies and stuff like that, that really hasn't changed. Bought more fishing lures than I did when I was 19. Yeah, those things haven't changed.

Q. Could you quickly run down your list of injuries, starting with last year, just really quickly? Last year you were hurt --

MICHAEL CHANG: I had a knee injury, actually during the Lipton -- actually during Indian Wells and that plagued me for about six weeks. Then I had my wrist injury, which plagued me for about eight months, tendonitis. This year, actually I've been pretty good. I had some back spasms that started actually in Rome. Went through Paris, and that was a little bit difficult to get rid of for some reason. But other than that, injury-wise this year, I've been pretty good.

Q. Looking at Andre and his ability to bounce back, is that an inspiration to you?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think in some aspects, yes. But the flipside, Andre and I are so different in the way we approach things and our personality. But by all means, you know, what Andre has accomplished throughout his career has really been something very special. I think all the tennis players would love to have been able to say that they are No. 1 and won each Grand Slam, to have something that's very unique to the tennis world. But in certain aspects, it is something to find encouragement from. But at the same time, I realize that Andre and I are very, very different in the way we approach things and our perspectives. But yeah, it's nice to be able to see the Americans being able to come back and be able to fight through some things. I think that throughout our careers, we've always inspired each other to play better tennis, and it's been good for all of us. From the juniors, all the way through the professionals.

Q. How about Courier and Todd Martin? Maybe similar parallels?

MICHAEL CHANG: Absolutely. That's exactly what I'm talking about as far as the Americans being able to come back. Todd had some bad injuries with his elbow. And Jim has been fighting his dead-arm syndrome, and I think that's in the past now. I think that in many ways, whether we want to admit it or not, we've helped each other in various ways to become, you know, better players. If we didn't have each other, I don't think that we would be able to accomplish nearly as many things as we have.

Q. Do you see yourself sitting in this chair five years answering questions?

MICHAEL CHANG: Five years? I don't know, five years. That's probably a little bit borderline. I'll have to wait and see. You'll know five years from now.

Q. Who would you compare yourself to?

MICHAEL CHANG: You mean as far as -- I think as far as getting along, we all get along very well. I think maybe demeanor-wife, I think I'm probably a little bit more similar to Todd and Pete in that regard.

Q. You guys have all had some injuries and ups and downs a little bit in this decade. Is it more impressive now to look at what Pete has done, achieving that level of where he's at?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think in certain aspects, yes. I think Pete has been very fortunate that throughout his career he hasn't that that many bad injuries to deal with. And the injuries he's had, he's been able to get through and fight through. By all means, what Pete has accomplished throughout his career is really amazing. You don't see that kind of consistency, those kind of results. It's very, very unique. But at the same time, I think maybe because we've grown up with Pete for so long, maybe when we see Pete, we're just kind of like: Oh, it's Pete. You know what I mean. I don't go like: "Oh, Pete!" Like that. We just grew up with him. He's like us. We've known each other for so long, since we were eight years old. By all means, I think if I were to just put his accomplishments aside, I would be able to say, wow. But if I look at just Pete himself, it's Pete. Not like Mr. Sampras or anything. You know what I mean? (Laughing.) It's just different.

Q. What more would you like to accomplish before you retire?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think first and foremost, being able to get through this difficult period of time. I think that, you know, I feel like my career wouldn't -- would be filled with a lot of regret, because I fought my way through a lot of matches situations, and if I allow this situation to get the best of me, and retire, it's not part of who I am. Not part of the personality that is part of me. And I think it would probably affect the rest of my life in other aspects. I think maybe it would be easier to say: Okay, well, let's quit if the going gets tough. It's just not part of who I am. And I feel like in certain aspects -- in certain aspects, it's good because maybe going through this makes me a stronger person. And maybe at the same time, I've had a lot of people come up and say that they have been strengthened as well, which is a good thing. I feel like not only would I be letting myself down, but I would be letting a lot of other people down as well.

Q. What kind of things do you like to do to relax when you're here?

MICHAEL CHANG: We've done some different things. We used to go fishing for quite a few years. I don't know if that lake is still there. We used to go fishing out of a lake called Swan Lake. Just a small pond stocked with some pretty big fish. Other than that, we haven't done anything really out of the ordinary. Spend our time practicing and getting ready for the matches. Do little things. Yesterday, we went to the book store. Things like that. Nothing too outrageous. Actually played 18 holes of golf on Friday. It was nice to be out there.

Q. Where did you play at?

MICHAEL CHANG: Just here. We played over here, which was nice. It's definitely nice to be able to do some other things besides tennis. That's important. My life is not tennis, sleeping, eating and drinking tennis 24 hours a day. Tennis is definitely important, but you make time for other things as well.

Q. What did you shoot?

MICHAEL CHANG: What did I shoot? I don't even remember what I shot. I don't shoot very well. I'm like normally in the high 90s.

Q. Who did you play with?

MICHAEL CHANG: I played with Carl.

Q. How long have you been golfing?

MICHAEL CHANG: I've only been golfing for about maybe just a few years, but I only play like maybe a dozen times a year.

Q. What did you think of that course?

MICHAEL CHANG: It was good. It was fun. Actually, I've played actually some pretty tough courses. Luxury of being able to travel so much, like PGA. Actually the golf course that my parents play is really, really tough. We've played some tough courses. Course-wise, I don't think this course is that tough. It plays a little bit short. A little bit shorter than maybe some of the other courses I've played. But you think it would reflect in the score, but -- (laughs).

Q. Can you talk about your fishing, how long you've been fishing?

MICHAEL CHANG: I've been fishing longer than I've been playing tennis. Something that I enjoy very much. Starting to get into a little bit of some different fishing, living in Seattle. A little bit of salmon fishing. I enjoy fishing very much.

Q. Have you had success?

MICHAEL CHANG: A little bit. The odd thing is that, you know, I don't get a chance to go fishing that much, but I enjoy it very much. But if I go fishing for seven straight days, by the seventh day I'm tired of it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: Just a change of pace. Carl just started a family. I'm now an uncle as of 10 weeks ago. They wanted obviously a place that they can really raise their family in a very good environment. We love the outdoors and the Pacific Northwest is really an outdoors place, and we can do all that. And tennis facilities are great over there. It does rain a little bit during the fall and the winter, but that's okay because we're traveling so much. I have a niece; so it's pretty exciting. Been able to find a good church there and make a lot of friend very quickly. The pace is very slow. It's pretty ideal.

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