March 22, 1997
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
JOE LYNCH: Michael Chang is into the third round as has an 11-match winning streak going after winning consecutive titles at Memphis and the Mercedes Super 9 at Indian Wells last week.
Q. Mike, was it tough not to take Mark Merklein a little lightly, just from his history?
MICHAEL CHANG: No. I definitely tried not to do that. I knew that Mark has been playing some good tennis and I've been following him a little bit as he's hit the Pro Tour. I knew he played some pretty good tennis, actually some excellent tennis, in college. I remember him from junior days, so. He came up playing some great tennis. Today was a tough battle. I mean, it came down to the wire there in the second set. Wasn't able to close him out. Overall, things were pretty tough out there.
Q. At one point in the second set, it was 4-2 yours, I believe, then he went up 5-4.
MICHAEL CHANG: Right.
Q. Because you broke each other 5-5, 6-5. Looked like it was going his way one point in the second set. At one point it looked like he didn't think he was playing Michael Chang. Did you think of that?
MICHAEL CHANG: I actually felt at times he would come up with consecutive shots that were -- consecutive points that were great. I mean, he came up with some great shots, knocked off some volleys. That one game I broke him, he had like four errors. Conditions were a little bit tough out there. It was a little bit gusty, a little bit windy out there. You know, I think from there I think it was just trying to be patient in the tiebreaker, just trying to take things point by point, not go for too much, but yet again not be too passive either.
Q. The second point was big. He went up one zip, long really, didn't do much with his backhand volley, you passed him. It looked like it just sucked the wind out of him.
MICHAEL CHANG: That definitely was a big point. I felt in the tiebreaker I knew it was a long point, we were both hurting a little bit from that point. I felt like from there I needed to kind of step things up a notch. I knew he was tired and I was going to make him work for it. I wasn't going to give him anything, particularly that point. I think it was a very, very big point. Right away I was kind of looking at him just to see how winded he was. He was kind of looking at me to see how winded I was (laughter). I think that was a pretty important point to me.
Q. Michael, do you think it's possible for anyone to really make it on the Tour nowadays coming from college?
MICHAEL CHANG: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think you have a lot of players who have done that. I think college tennis is a great way to be able to learn a lot. Obviously, if you're not quite ready for the Pro Tour, that's the way to go, as far as being in America. By all means, I think each person, particularly juniors, has to really look at their game, look to see where they are. If they don't quite feel like they're ready, they should go to college. I think it's important to make that decision wisely and not just jump from juniors all of a sudden to the professionals. I think each person is a little bit different. You have to make the judgment accordingly. Even actually for me, college was an option. Even though I turned pro just before my 16th birthday, I actually was thinking about going to college either.
Q. Michael, this is a question for a survey for the French Open program. If you had not been able physically to become a professional sportsman, what kind of career would you have liked to pursue, what kind of job would you have liked to do?
MICHAEL CHANG: I probably would have done something maybe in the field of biology or maybe something in the field of medicine I think, maybe something that has to do with kids, I like kids a lot.
JOE LYNCH: A marine biologist pediatrician.
MICHAEL CHANG: Somewhere around there, a cross. I think I'd be somewhere in that area. Actually, I still have that option after tennis, considering tennis is relatively a short career and I still have that option. College is something that I do hope to go to one day.
Q. Thank you.
JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Michael?
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