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November 18, 1996

Michael Chang


I think that for me, obviously, you try to learn from each tournament, but obviously it is something that I feel like it is something you just -- they were good tournaments for me. You learn from them. You are eager and hungry to do well in the next Grand Slam. You can't dwell too much on the past. You work and strive for future goals

The morning after the final, I woke up fine. Obviously, it is difficult in any Grand Slam final. I think that I tend to hurt a little bit more than in another tournament.

I think that obviously each year always has a lot of great tournaments and great matches that players play. So, the way that the Tour is now, having so many great players, so much depth on the Men's Tour that it is only inevitable that you are going to have many, many more in years to come

The great matches of the '90s: well, I think there have been quite a few. Obviously there have been a lot. I think that you can take, obviously, Pete's match with Corretja at this year's Australian Open. You can take some of the other matches, like maybe Andre winning Wimbledon against Goran. So, there are more than a handful of great matches. Something that maybe the whole world doesn't see. But, it happens in some of the smaller tournaments. Courier played against Sampras a couple years ago in Hong Kong in the final there. That was an incredible match.

I have had some where I have won and somewhere I have lost. I think, for me, my match against John McEnroe at the U.S. Open was pretty memorable for me. And also the my first round loss against Tim Mayotte at Wimbledon also was a memorable match for me.

All the tournaments that I have been to in Germany, I have always had good responses from the public. I don't think that is really going to change. Obviously, they have done a great job in getting the stadium up and the facilities are great. So, hopefully, it will be just as good or even better than Frankfurt.

Just the color of the balls is different. Everything else seems the same as it has been. The stadium is obviously bigger. I think it seats 15,000. So, that will be a little bit of a change, but, you know, the more the merrier. So, it should be a great turnout as it always has been.

I don't think you can have any easy matches here. I think that, obviously, Richard has had a very good year in winning Wimbledon, and I think that for me we have had a lot of tough matches in the past. Most of our matches except for the last one that we have played, have all gone the distance. I think it is a tough match for both of us. But, then again, there aren't going to be any easy matches here

I think the balls are a little bit heavier. But, I don't think that there is anything to complain about. It is a good all-around surface and the balls will play well compared to last year

I think that I am going to be seeing a lot of big serves coming my way and I think that for me, I have to be playing some of my best tennis in order to win. That is pretty much the bottom line. I have to be able to return well and play good, consistent, aggressive tennis. No one is going to win this tournament by waiting for other guys to miss. So, if you are going to win this tournament, you have got to take it from the other guys. That is pretty much the way that that is going to be.

We did play last year in Frankfurt. We had a very tough three-set match. In fact, Thomas had tough three-set matches against Enqvist and Courier. The times you start taking people too lightly are times when you are going to get yourself into a lot of trouble.

I think that you can look at indoor strength on my side too, so, I think obviously the first group, I think, has a little bit more flamboyance, I think, with Boris and Andre and Pete having an emotional year. But, either way, to me, it doesn't matter. You know you have got to beat the best players in the world to win. So, it is not like another event where sometimes they get knocked out early. Here nobody gets knocked out early. In some instances, the way the people look at the field, it is a little bit more difficult than maybe even a Grand Slam as far as players involved. You can take all the Grand Slams this year, and I don't think you have to beat five guys in the top 8. It just doesn't happen in the Grand Slams. But, in order to win here, you have got to do that.

Grand Slams still obviously have great importance to the game and they always have. So, I would still place this tournament below the Grand Slams, but it is still a very important tournament and I think, particularly, for me, it will be a good bouncing board to be able to do well here and be able to, you know, get in there in 1997 starting off the year close to be able to get to the No. 1 spot.

Jim has been struggling a little bit with his tennis. But, he is still able to play some great tennis periodically and hasn't been as consistent as he has in the past. I think that Jim has always been a very hard worker and it wouldn't surprise me to see him back at the top 10 level by next year

I only played Jim once this year which was in Stuttgart. So, I really didn't see any change in his game. I think it is difficult to say. Obviously he is going through kind of a transition period in his career and I think everybody has highs and lows. So, at this point in his career, he is at a low point. So, we- have to kind of wait to see how he handles it. Knowing Jim, he will be able to come through and get himself to where he wants to be.

I think my high point this particular year is getting to the finals of two Grand Slam tournaments. I think the Indian Wells tournament was a great tournament for me. Low points, I think probably at the beginning of the clay court season, end of the hard court season because I got sick in Hong Kong. And I got hurt in Hong Kong. So, that really didn't help me out. From that period to after the French wasn't all that great of a time for me. Struggling a little bit and pulling out because of injuries. That is probably the low point of this year. All and all, there isn't a whole lot of low points this year and hopefully that will be the case for next year. Hopefully the higher points will be even higher.

I think against the top guys there is always a lot to prove here. I think there is always a lot to prove to each other. I think when you get to this stage in your career and this stage of the year, it is almost kind of a certain kind of pecking order, in a sense, that you want to establish going into the following year. Obviously if you are able to do very well, then it can make a very big impact. I mean, Boris did very well here last year and was able to go on and carry on through the Australian. So, I think that plays a pretty important role. Like I said, even for me, I think it would a good springboard going into next year. So, I don't feel like if I am able to do very well here, I don't think I am that far off from Pete or the No. 1 ranking. So, there is a lot to strive for, at least, on my part. It is not just a regular tournament. So, you know these guys are going to be around for many, many more years - most of them - and to be able to gain a little bit of an edge, and you try to take advantage of it.

I think Pete handled it quite well. I think that Pete was very fortunate to be able to have a lot of supportive people around him that helped him through a very difficult time; helped him to be able to understand things. So, as far as for me, I honestly couldn't tell you how I would handle it because I have never been in a situation like that. And, it is just totally new to me. So, I think in those kind of situations you can say which ways you are going to handle it and stuff, but once you get in there, it is difficult. It is just like people telling you on a much lesser note if they tell you after you win a Grand Slam you need to handle this, this, this that way, a certain way, but everyone is different. And, you can't teach someone in a sense, or tell someone how to handle it unless they go through it. So, I think the same can be said for Pete's situation. But, obviously, he handled it very, very well.

My emotions, I think that for me I realize that I am still very much a thinking player. I think I am more of a thinking person than anything else. So, a lot of times if things tend to get a little bit more on the emotional side I try to take a little bit of time, try to put things into proper perspective and be calm before I make decisions. That is normally the way that I handle things and I don't think any important decisions should ever be made in haste.

As far as a stress reliever for me, I think a lot of it is through prayer and through reading the Bible. So, for me it helps me to realize and to remind myself that everything is taken care of. And, that everything has a purpose. For me it brings a great deal of peace knowing that the Lord will take care of everything.

I think the court is medium, fast as I think it should be for indoor court. But, I don't think the balls are going to make that much after distance. I haven't really felt that much of a distance.

I don't want to necessarily look too far ahead. At this particular time, just concentrate on playing Richard tomorrow. So, that is normally the way I go about doing things. So, go out and be able to play my best tennis. Whatever happens is whatever happens.

I don't know why Andre is not here. I couldn't tell you why. I heard that he was going to come. But, I don't know. I saw him this morning. But, hopefully nothing has happened to him. Obviously, that would be a shame. But, I think there must be a logical reason for it.

Actually I do pray before matches. We will sit down together with my team and we will say a prayer before the match make sure that the priorities are set. And, just go out there with the right purpose. I try to do that before every match for a few minutes.

I think that for me it is very important because for me to be Christian is my first priority. So, to be able to get that straight and I feel like tennis is my calling in that aspect.

To be in Hannover means that I am one of the top 8 players in the world. I think obviously it is great to be able to be here. It is a very elite group. Obviously it is going to be a lot of exciting tennis this week. And, it is great to be a part of this event.

I feel like I am playing some pretty good tennis. Hopefully, come tomorrow, I will be playing even better tennis. I am excited about playing and starting off tomorrow.

Everybody wants to win. So that is the way the guys mentalities are. They wouldn't be one of the 8 best players in the world if they didn't have the mentality of going out and trying to win. So, I realize that each player is hungry. They are not going to give anybody anything. And, just, you know, because know these guys. I play with them. And you know that they are going to be ready to play.

I am more private with my relationships. I am definitely more private. I think that for me, if I were to be as public as some of these other guys, the pictures would be all around Asia and I would be getting lot of questions as far as when I am going to get married and stuff like that. But, for me, I am just a little bit more private. I feel like as a professional athlete I don't have very many aspects of my life that are private. So, I feel like this falls under the category of keeping things a little bit more on a private side. That is the way I tend to do things. But, people around me who are close to me, they obviously know about my life in that regard.

Davis Cup is a little bit of a different situation because as far as the U.S. Team is concerned, there are a few internal difficulties - nothing that has to do with other players. Other players, they get along fine. We get along really well with Gully. Just a few other things that kind of take place that make it a little bit more difficult for us to play. So, it is something that people don't see on the outside. People say well, the American guys, they don't want to play Davis Cup which is absolutely not true. I think that it is just a little bit more difficult for us to play under some of the circumstances. So, hopefully things will change within the next few months at least before the first Davis Cup Tie in Brazil and hopefully they will be able to get things squared away and straightened out. That is my hope and I am pretty sure it is fair to say that hopefully other guys as well.

I like the format. (indicating Davis Cup format) I think that the system works out well. Scheduling sometimes is a little bit difficult. But, then again, you can't really control that because you never know where you are going to play. So, I think that is not something that you can really control. But, as far as Davis Cup, as far as going to another country to play or playing at home, I think it works out wonderfully and brings another element to tennis that is very, very exciting.

End of FastScripts....

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