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September 4, 1997

Michael Chang


MICHAEL CHANG: Appreciate your patience.

Q. Mike, are you cramping?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I'm avoiding it. You know, I don't want to sit for too long. You know, I don't want to stiffen up. I just don't want to be in a situation. I know if I start cramping, I'm going to be here for another two hours walking it off. Best not to even get it started.

Q. Is it more cautionary?

MICHAEL CHANG: More cautionary.

Q. You don't feel any cramps at all?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. Just from my experience, it's been the best thing.

Q. Michael, in your career, have you ever had two tighter or more dramatic back-to-back matches than you have tonight and against Pioline?

MICHAEL CHANG: Actually, I have. A few years ago, actually at the Open, I played a five-setter with Wayne Ferreira and a five-setter against MaliVai Washington, which both matches were tough. I think it's always tough to compare matches, but today was definitely a fight.

Q. It's been an hour since the match. What have you been doing during that time?

MICHAEL CHANG: I've been stretching, took a shower, tried to get some food and some fluids in, iced down a little bit, talked to CBS, pretty much came here.

Q. No intravenous?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I hate needles. Given a choice.

Q. Down 15-40 the last point, what were you thinking about?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was trying to take my time, just trying to take things -- slow things down, try to take things point by point. I was thinking hopefully I'd be able to claw my way back into the game. I was fortunate that Marcelo's passing shot just went wide on that one breakpoint. I'm not sure what happened on the other one. I was just trying to take my time, you know, not rush anything.

Q. How were the conditions out there?

MICHAEL CHANG: Conditions were tough. I think the past couple days, the temperature really changed. I mean it was windy and it was cold. Something, that you figure it's the summer; you come to the US Open expecting very hot weather, humid weather. The last couple days were just a drastic change.

Q. How would you describe why tonight's match was so difficult for you, given the history with you and Rios?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I've always had tough matches against Rios. Marcelo, he's always been a tough competitor. Tonight, you know, I felt like I was just a little bit better than he was in the first couple sets. The match changed around. He started to play better, cut down on his errors, was hitting the ball, you know, extremely clean. The whole tempo just switched. I didn't think I played bad tennis at all in the third and fourth sets. I think, you know, it was pretty important to be able to break him in that eighth game. It was nice to be able to have the crowd, you know, start to really get behind me a little bit. The Chilean crowd was pretty vocal. I felt pretty good. A lot of prayers were answered today.

Q. Do you think a day's rest will be enough for Rafter?


Q. What made the difference tonight?

MICHAEL CHANG: Not much. It's tough to say. I was a bit tense earlier in the day. I was e-mailing a lot of friends, asking them to pray for me. Actually my aunt and uncle called and prayed for me. Actually, during the match, I felt pretty calm. It was nice to be able to go out there. I felt like I had the Lord's peace out there. The whole match, you know, it was a tough match. I mean, I would have thought that Marcelo after the first couple sets would start to get frustrated, start to go for shots, start to make errors. I was thinking, "Okay, I might win in three sets or four sets." But he hung tough. He didn't give me anything. Before I knew, we were in the fifth set, and it was extremely close. It's not a big difference.

Q. (Inaudible) the Chilean crowd chanting, was that kind of making a fun atmosphere?


Q. For the players.

MICHAEL CHANG: It does. I think it does. I think it's always great when you have the crowd into it. I know that if it was Davis Cup, the US would drown them out. In a situation like, that it is kind of fun. It is always nice to have a crowd into a match. It's kind of interesting, actually, to see different chants from different countries. I actually got a chance to get a taste of the Chilean crowd. After the Open, I went down to Santiago in Chile. That was wild. It was a great atmosphere. Marcelo played great tennis down there. Although I lost that match, it was still a heck of a lot of fun to be a part of.

Q. Michael, why were you particularly apprehensive today?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know.

Q. Was it this stage of the tournament you started to get this way? Was it the opponent?

MICHAEL CHANG: It's hard to say. Normally I'm able to feel like I'm able to just concentrate and focus. Today was really difficult.

Q. Is that why you went out and hit twice today?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, I would have done that normally.

Q. At the end of the first set, came into your mind that you may lose the game? After winning 2-Love, did you have in your mind can escape the victory from your hands?

MICHAEL CHANG: I really didn't think about winning; I didn't think about losing. I was just taking things point by point, game by game. I know that he still has one set to go; I still have one set to go. You know, the fifth set, it's anyone's ball game.

Q. Your match-up with Rafter?

MICHAEL CHANG: Patrick has been playing some very tough tennis. I lost to him a couple weeks ago at the Hamlet. He's obviously carried that tennis on into the Open. He's been playing some very tough tennis. I'm looking forward to it. I think that, you know, it's going to be a tough match. Never is an easy match against Patrick. You know, it's going to be important for me to come out and play well in order to win and to be focused out there.

Q. Michael, is it possible that your apprehension today is a result of you knowing deep down that this is an opportunity of a lifetime for you to win this tournament?

MICHAEL CHANG: Possibly. Possibly. I think, you know, I'm not going to kid you or lie to you, but it is a bit of a new situation for me because, you know, even though I'm No. 2 in the world, I don't normally go into a Grand Slam favored. This Grand Slam is no different till Pete lost. So it is a little bit different for me. You know, to be honest with you, today pressure did get to me quite a bit. I was just fortunate to be able to have the kind of support that I've had through family and friends. Just felt like the Lord was there with me.

Q. Were you physically prepared today for this match? You played five sets?

MICHAEL CHANG: Physically I was feeling pretty good. I played against Cedric five tough sets. I was feeling good. Physically, I was feeling pretty good.

End of FastScripts….

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