home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 4, 1996

Michael Chang


Q. Michael, just summarize the way you played, the match itself.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it was a pretty tough match. I never have easy matches against the Sanchez brothers. I mean, I think it is pretty fair to say that, you know, they are all great fighters and all great competitors. I am not just referring to Emilio and Javier. Obviously, Arantxa is in the same category. They are just not easy players to play. Javier is a very talented player and he is able to, you know, obviously put -- they are all great movers. He is very crafty and he moves the ball around extremely well.

Q. How did you kind of refocus there because you just had the door closed on him and he forced it to another set?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that I might have let up just a little bit and it made a big enough difference where Javier started to play some better tennis and things just really turned around and I was fortunate to get that break in the fifth set -- or the fourth set, and hold things off. Javier, he has won a lot of matches that way, you know, coming back and getting into a tough situation. He did earlier in the tournament being down 6-2 in the fifth set tiebreaker. I mean, it is almost unheard of to win a match like that. And today I got a bit of a taste of that as well, so it was a definitely good lesson for me.

Q. Tired or relieved at the end? When you put your head down after the match, when you sat down, were you tired or relieved that you got through?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was actually just praying, just thanking the Lord for pulling me through and, you know, I think that whenever you have a tough match like this, you feel both. I mean, you feel very excited, but yet you also feel a bit tired and also a bit relieved because, you know, you never know what can happen. I was thinking here, I was up two breaks in the third set and Javier comes back and wins it in the tiebreaker and here I am up 5-2, I have two matchpoints and he fights those matchpoints off, and I am thinking to myself, well, when is this going to end, so, you know, just I think it was just a combination of a lot of things, but -- yeah....

Q. How are you pulling up physically? You have played a lot of tennis this year and you have had some tough matches this tournament?

MICHAEL CHANG: Physically I am not too bad. I have got the next couple of days off to relax and prepare for the semifinals, so timingwise things worked out quite well. I had a couple of -- few really tough matches to get to this stage and so far things have haven't been too bad.

Q. What needs to happen over the next couple of days besides winning, to sort of put you over the top again and to win one of these? You have been in this situation and even in the final a number of times now, you know, luck, is there something --

MICHAEL CHANG: I think part of it is perseverance. I think part of it is that you can't get frustrated getting to the finals and then not being able to get through and I think a lot of it is persistence, perseverance, just continuing to work hard and you hope that when you get to a stage where you are in the semifinals or in the finals of a tournament that you -- things will flow your way, so yeah, I don't think I really think to change anything, change my mentality, just go out there and continue to go out and do my best.

Q. Have you been persistent, do you think or --

MICHAEL CHANG: I think I have been. I have had a taste of, you know, I won in 1989 in the French Open, but since then been struggling a little bit; come close on few occasions. At the French last year, the Australia earlier this year, ATP World Championships last year and, you know, semifinal here in 1992, so, you know, I have had opportunities, so just looking to hopefully capitalize on the next opportunity.

Q. How important is it for you to win another Slam, to get two and continue where you started in '89?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think it is necessarily so important to win a Grand Slam as far as, you know, proving anything or proving anything to anybody. I think that for me I am very -- I am content at where I am and obviously I am striving for bigger and better things, but I think that if I have a mentality as far as trying to win Grand Slams just to prove people, you know, something that, you know, -- I don't think that is the right attitude. I think that you have to have confidence in who you are and where you have come. I think for me it has been a gradual process, just taking things step by step and although I haven't won a Grand Slam since 1989, I feel like my game is improving little by little, so -- and that is -- that, for me, is important.

Q. How about in your own mind, do you think that in your own mind that you have to prove anything that the '89 thing wasn't the two week, you know, wonder; that it came too early in your career? Do you feel anything like that in your own mind?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think a Grand Slam ever comes too early or too late, that is for sure. I don't think I need to prove anything. I think as long as I go out and work my hardest in practice and go out and give my best on the tennis court whether I am able to come through or whether I am not, you know, for me just to know that I gave it my best and that is important because, you know, you can still walk off the court whether you have won or lost and know that you gave it your all. So I think that is important in this day and age because life is too short to be stressing out on a lot of the other things.

Q. If you win this tournament you will also be No. 1 in the world for the first time and while you say that it is not important for you to prove anything to anybody, do you find that to be a meaningful emblem of your success, or another thing that you don't really pay a lot of attention to?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, obviously it would be great to be No. 1. I think I kind of agree with Stefan. I was reading a little excerpt, Stefan was saying it is more difficult to become No. 1 than to win a Grand Slam. And I think that is probably holds true because being No. 1 you have to be consistent throughout a whole period of time. But, you know, I think for me, like I said, I have had a certain mentality of going out and just giving my best and working hard and trying to improve and I don't think I should really get away from that, just take things step by step when I am out there on the court; take things point by point and if it comes, then it comes.

Q. It is funny though because here you are on the verge of being No. 1 and there is always talk about Andre and Muster and all that. You have the best hard court record of anybody this summer. Not that you care, but do you feel lost in the mix of people talking about a lot of other people when you have probably performed better than anybody on Tour?

MICHAEL CHANG: Not really. The reason I say that because you take a guy like -- well, guys like Pete and Andre, I think that, you know, their recognition and the things that they have accomplished is, I mean, is tremendous. Obviously it is difficult to look at me in a sense to see my results and in a sense look at their results over the years as far as, you know, winning the Majors and stuff like that, so naturally people are going to be focused in on them. And obviously even for the rest of the tournament here, they are contenders to win the tournament, so, you know, for me, it is not important to necessarily be in a public eye or to gain the fame or the popularity or stuff like that. For me, I am happy just going about my business and, you know, I think that for me I guess if you could give it a comparison maybe to do things more along the lines like Stefan than maybe a guy like Andre, for example.

Q. Are you a great contender? You mentioned that those guys are great contenders to win the tournament. Are you?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think being in the semifinals, you know, I don't think it -- I think it is a pretty good shot, so, you know, we will work at it and I got the next couple of days to prepare and I am really excited to be in the semifinals and looking forward to it.

Q. Do you think life will change if you were No. 1 or would you --

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I don't think so. I think that the period of time where I have had in my career where life really changed for me was after the French Open, and I have just learned -- I have learned so much over the years that, you know, what it is like to be in the top ten or the top five and having to deal with pressures coming from various directions and, you know, I have been through a lot of that and to be No. 1, I don't think it -- it shouldn't change anything. I am just a regular person like everybody else is, just so happens that my career is a career that is in the spotlight, so, you know, I don't see myself as any more special than anybody else.

Q. What has caused this great transformation of your game on the hard courts where you right now do have the best of all records of the current players during the hard court season, and what do you see has been the biggest improvement in your hard court game?

MICHAEL CHANG: You know, it is funny because people after the French Open were labeling me as a clay court player and it is strange because I was only playing on clay for really two years before winning the French Open, so, you know, I have always -- I grew up playing on hard courts, so hard court is a court that I am most familiar with, and, you know, resultswise I have had my best success, with the exception of the French Open and getting to the finals of the French Open (Michael laughing) I think that it is just a surface that I feel most at home on.

Q. Your father told me that you think the ball is too soft this time. What do you think about that?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. No, the balls are fine. Few lopsided ones, but it is okay.

Q. When you are not playing tennis, are there other sports that you enjoy recreationally?

MICHAEL CHANG: I do a lot of fishing. Some people don't consider that a sport, but I do, and it is something that to me is very enjoyable because it is very opposite of tennis it is very tranquil, very quiet very peaceful and very much the opposite of tennis.

Q. What kind of fishing do you do, Michael?

MICHAEL CHANG: Any kind. As long as there is a body of water and fish in it.

Q. You have talked, Michael, about adding the power and the racket, everything, trying to become a bigger hitter out there. Do you still feel that, you know, when you get to this later stage, you know in the semis and finals, you have lost to Becker, maybe Muster, that some of these guys, one match deal, still have a little bit too much power for you out there in these matches?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is something that, you know, I realize that being five foot 9, I am not going to be a pure power player. That is just fact. But then again, tennis is not decided by who can hit the hardest, and I think that for me, my strength has always been my groundstrokes and the ability to be able to move and also to be able to think on the court. And so obviously I am playing guys, you know, constantly week after week, guys who have more power than I do, but, you know, I am able to use other aspects of my game in order to come out on top, so, you know, it is still a thinking man's game out there. So -- but it is nice to be able to add a little bit of power to my game, to be able to be a little bit more unpredictable.

Q. Michael, obviously we don't know who is going to win tonight's match. If you could, could you preview the two possibilities, first the possibility of facing Andre and what particular strategies you'd use and secondly, Thomas Muster?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I won't tell you my strategy. I think that obviously to play against either one is going to be a tough match. You are going to have a lot of long points, a lot of tough points. For me, to come down to it, I have got to play some of my best tennis in order to win, that is just fact. Guys are playing well. I think Andre has had a pretty tough summer, pretty good summer. And Thomas is playing well. He beat Enqvist pretty convincingly, which I think was a bit of a surprise to a few of us, so either way it is going to be a tough match. It is actually going to be a pretty fun match to watch tonight.

Q. How much longer is the racket?


Q. Just one inch?


End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297