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March 14, 1997

Michael Chang


JOE LYNCH: Michael moves into the semifinals, will take on Thomas Muster tomorrow 1 o'clock. He is now 25-6 lifetime here on these courts. First question?

Q. It looked fairly comfortable for you.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think tonight was a good match for me. I think it was a match that I think coming into tomorrow's match was pretty good. I wasn't out there for really long, but at the same time got to hit a lot of balls, still had to work pretty hard. Good, ideal match for me.

Q. Your thoughts about playing Thomas?

MICHAEL CHANG: I'm excited tomorrow. Thomas obviously is always a very tough competitor. I think tomorrow I'm definitely going to be very pumped up to play him. I've lost to him a number of times in the past, and just looking to even things up a little bit, to be quite honest with you. Tomorrow is going to be a tough match. There's going to be a lot of long points. We're both going to be doing a lot of running. Tomorrow, definitely looking forward to it.

Q. Why do you think he's had so much success against you? He's 5-1. You kind of play a little bit similar styles, you're both thought of as the "thinking man's player."

MICHAEL CHANG: I think in some regards, he was stronger than I was. I think in many ways we do kind of play similar. I think it does count for a bit of a difference there. Now, I feel like I'm able to go out there and hit with the guys who hit hard. I'm not afraid of playing guys who are stronger than I am. I'm able to rip hard balls back when they rip hard balls at me. Thomas, obviously he's a tough player to play. He's been having a great year.

Q. So you're talking upper body strength?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think just overall strength. I think overall strength definitely plays a role in tennis. Thomas is not going to go out and give you matches. I have faith tomorrow that I can go out there tomorrow and take him.

Q. Michael, do you see it as an advantage to you that you've only had to play one day match, played a couple night matches? Do you feel extra fresh because of that?

MICHAEL CHANG: I feel pretty good. I think, I don't know, I've had a couple days off. Generally speaking, I feel pretty good. I feel pretty fresh. The night matches have been a little bit more on the cool side. Just generally speaking, I feel pretty good. I've had a couple weeks off coming into this event, so I've had proper time to rest and prepare. Coming into the semis, Godspeed, I should feel pretty good, unless I've had really, really tough matches.

Q. Are you at all surprised to see who the other semifinalists are, or does that seem to be happening a lot on the circuit?

MICHAEL CHANG: It definitely does happen on the circuit. It goes to show you the depth of men's tennis, I think it's very great. Obviously everybody is very talented. Guys are so good nowadays, if they're able to put things together for a week, they're going to have a great week. Those two guys are obviously playing some great tennis. For me it doesn't surprise me all that much because you will have events where most of the top guys are here, and sometimes a whole side will lose many of its seeds. Actually, it's happened here in the past.

Q. Late in the second set tonight, were you going for the longest rally on that point?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think so. I think we were pretty far from that. He was content to slice it, so I was content to slice it. I think after a little while, we were kind of just playing with the point, kind of having a little bit of fun out there. I was surprised that I was able to slice with him, because Cedric has got a pretty good slice. It was just a fun point, I think, at that stage of the match. Cedric can be a character at times. I don't know if you remember at the US Open last year where he was playing Philippoussis and he was down in the match, I guess no chance of coming back. I guess Mark was acing him so many times, he just decided to switch and try to return his serve with the grip part of his racquet. He actually touched it. He actually touched it with his grip. For him it was a victory.

Q. You did awfully well returning his smashes tonight. Was he just off or is that something you're particularly strong at?

MICHAEL CHANG: He missed a couple tonight. I think that's going to happen periodically because you're not quite used to playing at night. Sometimes when you look up, it's pitch black. You don't have anything to go by. Sometimes you can misjudge the ball. Other than that, I think when he's hitting an overhead, I'm more or less just guessing, trying to go where I think he might go. If I'm able to guess right, maybe I've got a shot at getting the ball back, squeaking out the point. Generally speaking, it's not a tactic you try to win points off of.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Michael?

Q. Michael, a last question about Agassi. Is there any friction between the two of you over comments he's made in the past?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, no, not at all. I think Andre and I have a pretty good understanding. I hope in certain regards we both come to hopefully realize that some of the things that people say we said doesn't actually take place. I think hopefully he realizes that. Just because somebody says that I said something, somebody says that he said something, doesn't necessarily mean that I said it. Maybe if I did say it, it was in a different context. Sometimes people either make that mistake or try to make things, I don't know, a little bit more interesting or something. As far as from my side with Andre, I have no friction, I have no problem with him.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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