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August 7, 1996

Michael Chang


Q. Does it take more out of you because of the way you play than other players?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is difficult to say because I was in the locker room looking at all the other guys coming off the court and they all looked pathetic like I do, so I think it is difficult to say. I mean, obviously if you have a very easy match, then it is not going to take as much out of you, but, you know, all the matches today during the afternoon really took something out of everyone, I feel. So I don't know. Today seems to be particularly warm and humid, so -- yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: Obviously you are out there; you go out and you are trying your best. And sometimes you are not quite able to get to a shot because maybe the heat is working you over a little bit. But, you know, I think that it is, at least for me, it is important to try to take advantage of the chances that I have. I was fortunate in that third set because I was down a break and was able to kind of get my way through today.

Q. Michael, you have had sort of memorable physical troubles with regards to the French Open. Does that help you at all knowing that you made it through those situations when you are out there on a day like today?

MICHAEL CHANG: Not when you are actually going through the situation. I think it is nice maybe to look back from your career and be able to say that you went through a lot of things, but that is part of life. I think everyone goes through some things and I mean, cramping is one thing that everybody dreads. It is just not a whole lot of fun and even if you have been in situations so many times before, it is not something you can really get used to. So, you know, you just try to deal with it as best as you know how, and try to be able to dodge back for the next day.

Q. Today was particularly humid and also the last few days they have been reporting that the smog level here has been pretty borderline (Inaudible.). Do you think there is a point where maybe they should suspend play because of heat or humidity?

MICHAEL CHANG: I say put a tarp over it and make it an indoor event (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER).

Q. They were thinking about that. I mean, do you ever think I mean, like in Australia they play in extreme weather, is there ever a point where they shouldn't play where it is jeopardizing a player's health?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think they actually have a rule like that on the ATP Tour. I don't know exactly how hot it has to get. I don't even know the temperature today. Today's, I think, was pretty comparable to Australia. Actually I think it is probably -- today has been warmer than just about any day in Australia this year. So, you know, it is something that, you know, the good thing is that everybody has to deal with it. I mean, if you look at it that way. So obviously when it gets to levels that things do get a little dangerous for the players -- not only for the players, but also for the spectators, then I think you need to do something because tennis is still a sport and people come out to enjoy - enjoy the day watching great tennis. Obviously, you know, sometimes things get out of hand and, you know, maybe get conditions get, you know, kind of unbearable, then I think you need to really sit down and reconsider, you know, if the risk is something that you really want to take, but, you know.....

Q. Have you ever heard any discussions anyplace that they were thinking that it was like maybe not wise to play?

MICHAEL CHANG: I have heard that before, actually, you know, particularly in Australia and actually that is one of the reasons I think they have changed the cramping rule as far as the Tour is concerned. If you are out there and you are cramping you are allowed a 3 minute injury timeout and I would just hate to be in a situation if I fell down today and just keeled over and no one is going to help me for three minutes before I get defaulted; then it is a little bit unfortunate, but, you know, you still have to remember that tennis is a sport. It is something that you really enjoy to do and I think the Tour is very sensible in that they just try to go out and make it enjoyable for everyone.

Q. Are you the last person playing on a day like this (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: I hope so. I think -- I mean, regardless today, I mean, I have seen guys coming in the locker room, they have had two set matches, and they look like they have been in a war, almost, in a sense. Their faces are so red and they are just -- that is the Tour, that is Cincinnati. It is not like it -- like it hasn't been hot here before. But today seemed particularly hot maybe because I am coming from a tournament in L.A. which it -- where it wasn't quite as humidity and hot. Again you are playing at one o'clock; you are playing at the heat of the day, so hopefully, it is not going to get any worse than this.

Q. Couple of people from the Tour knew that it would bother you because you didn't stop and sign autographs --

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, that is one thing that I love to sign for the kids and I hope by the time my career is over I will just about get all of them. I think that the situation, I had to kind of look out for myself a little bit, but I do Love to sign for the kids.

Q. Is this like the first time that you haven't done that?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is one of the few times. I haven't had matches -- I have had matches where I cramped and really wasn't able to sign, but, you know, the kids are good and I tell them I will get them later and they understand that.

Q. How much did it affect you during the match, the cramping?

MICHAEL CHANG: I wasn't cramping at all, actually, during the match. I was a bit tired, a little bit fatigued, yeah, but, you know, as far as the cramping, it didn't really hit me until after -- until I was in the locker room.

Q. A match like this, on a day like this, Michael, does it help you in preparation for the Open or hurt you? You don't want to have too many of these between now and the Open.

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it would be very difficult to play this tournament just prior to the Open. I think it would definitely drain you quite a bit because going into the Open it is not going to be cool and you are playing three out of five sets. That would be very, very difficult. But, you know, I think that -- I don't think it is going to get hotter than this at the U.S. Open. So if you are able to get through this then you should be okay going into the Open.

Q. Andre recently was quoted in a magazine article saying what annoys him about you is that you keep improving like 15, 20% every year which is (Inaudible.)

MICHAEL CHANG: It doesn't force him to do it.

Q. Well, he feels it is. I guess he presented you with his (Inaudible.) Does that kind of intrigue you at all that he would think that you are pushing him that way or --

MICHAEL CHANG: It is strange because I kind of felt that that was the case for actually all of the Americans ever since the junior days. We were constantly pushing each other and pushing each other and even 'til this day, we still push each other. Maybe Andre didn't feel it back then in junior days because I think he won every match in the juniors, so, you know, it is nice that he is feeling that. So hopefully as the years go on, he will feel it a little bit more. It is good. I think it is good that people are able to take note of certain things and for me it is -- just continue to progress, so, you know, I am just heading in that right direction and -- yeah, I am real excited about the summer and upcoming years and see what the Lord has in plan for me.

Q. You say players have come in looking like they were in a war. What did you feel like?

MICHAEL CHANG: My war was out on the tennis court. I think when you come in, you start cramping a little bit, you have your own little war again, but obviously, it is not like a real war, but in a sense you look at the expression on peoples' faces and you know that they have been through, you know, a pretty tough ordeal in a sense, but that is tennis. I mean, if you were in the locker room, you saw some of the guys have like ice cold towels, wet towels, over them and just trying to get their body temperature down. I mean, more than a few guys, so -- yeah.

Q. Any kind of a macho ethic on a day like this where you don't want them to know that you are feeling it as much as they are?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. I don't think so. I don't think so. When you are feeling like that you do what you can. I don't think you have enough energy to put up a macho front.

Q. Say a few words Michael on where you are right now in your career. I understand you are the highest you have ever been. Obviously keep pushing people like Agassi and some other ones. How do you feel about where you are in your game? Do you ever think that you can get -- that you can get to that No. 1 spot?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't discount it. I think that it is definitely something I am just taking day by day and really in a sense just taking things point by point. I think, for me, it has been great working with Carl and just to be able to have the support from my family and friends and just continuing to work hard and strive for bigger and better things. I mean, you know that if you are able to do that, then things will continue to get better for you on the court and opportunities to win tournaments and winning Grand Slam tournaments will come around. Like I said earlier, the Lord has really blessed me. I am just -- I still feel like my best tennis is still ahead of me because I look at my game and I still have so many things to improve upon. So, yeah, it is definitely exciting time in my career.

Q. You say you don't discount it. It doesn't sound like you are really, oh, yeah, no question, I can get there?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is a certain mentality because you realize that No. 1 in a sense is not that far away, but you don't want to be too focused on it. The reason I say that is I kind of learned that from earlier in the year where I did have pretty good chance to be No. 1 and I think when you start focusing upon being No. 1 you forget what you need to do in order to get there, which is the hard work, the dedication and being focused. So that is -- I think those things have really been one of the things that has helped me to get me where I am. And I don't want to want to get sidetracked from that.

Q. I just want to go back to that Agassi thing for one second. Does it kind of surprise you that somebody of his caliber sometimes voices or indicates that he doesn't want to have that hard work ethic and have to work that hard to always improve? That he sometimes indicates he doesn't really enjoy that.

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, that is why -- that is why everyone is different. Everyone is unique in their own sense and unique in their approach to the game. Obviously you have players who have to who work hard and some players who have to work harder than others. Some people have been blessed with more talent. So everyone varies and differs a little bit. That is really -- everyone has different approaches, so yeah, over the years what has worked for Andre, you know, probably wouldn't work for somebody else.

Q. Do you feel you are one of those guys that needs to work harder than an Agassi or somebody else?

MICHAEL CHANG: I definitely have to work hard, period. I am a little bit smaller and I am not able to really go out and kind of blow somebody off the court, so I do have to work quite hard, so.....

Q. Harder, do you think?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, it is tough to say. In my own sense, I have to work very hard.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else?

Q. Can you talk little bit about tomorrow?

MICHAEL CHANG: Cristiano is a very tough player, good player, I have played him in the past. He takes the ball very early. I was surprised he was able to get through Stefan today. But it should be another tough match.

End of FastScripts….

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