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March 17, 1996

Michael Chang


JOE LYNCH: I guess this is appropriate. (MICHAEL STANDING DUE TO CRAMPING) Michael had played for a standing room audience today to win his second Newsweek Champions Cup and his 6th career Mercedes Super 9 title; second only to Sampras and Agassi; each with 7. The first question for Michael.

Q. Michael, does this mean you are cramping the reason you are not sitting; if so, can you talk about the toll that your matches have taken?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I just-- I just been cramping a little bit. I was -- actually I had a couple twinges that I knew were kind of pre-cramp stuff and going on during the match and I sat down for a few minutes after the match and I got up and I had a bit of a cramp in my right leg, so I have been just getting here and there. I pretty much don't want to sit down. Every time I do that my body stays still and kind of locks up on me, so I'm kind of taking precautions and cramping is no fun, so just actually pretty fortunate to be able to finish the match in three straight today. I don't know if Paul was feeling quite as much as I was, but, you know, for me over the last three days, you know, really took quite a bit out of me. I didn't have a whole lot of time to recover from the match against Andre and then, you know, yesterday did a lot of running and today I did a lot of running, you know, plus the weather changed a bit which made things more difficult.

Q. Can you describe what happened in the first six games?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think the first six games, I think we were, more or less -- I think Paul was playing some of his best tennis the first -- during the first probably three quarters of the first set. I could tell that he was definitely out there to play. I mean, he was running down some shots that I have never seen him run down before. He would just stab at it, but he was getting to the balls and making good shots off it, and, you know, I was -- I think I kind of was able to get off to an okay start. And Paul just, you know, came out firing away; got that early break and I was fortunate to be able to get that break back. I think that -- what was it -- 4-2 game when I was serving Love-40, it was an incredibly crucial game, now looking back at it. I think had I lost that game, I definitely would have -- probably would have lost the first set and, you know, things would have definitely changed from there. I am sure Paul would have got a lot of confidence to win the match.

Q. Can you describe your unbelievable passing shot 3-Love in the first set? Do you remember?

MICHAEL CHANG: That one, you do what you have to do. It is one of those things where, you know, sometimes you just -- just try to hit the shot the best you know how, and I was fortunate that Paul didn't put that ball quite away, and I was able to get my racket on it and hit it for a winner - yeah.

Q. Did you feel you had the match won after the first set?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. Not at all. I think in three out of five set matches, I don't think you can ever feel that you have a match at all; particularly after a first set like that. It was a very tight first set. Paul had opportunities and even, you know, even after way in the third set, I mean, I still didn't feel like it was mine. I felt I had to work quite a bit and I had a lot of, you know, deuce games; a lot of 30-All games, which wound up to be pretty crucial to be able to sneak some of those games out of the third set.

Q. Did you have air vents cut into your cap?

MICHAEL CHANG: Just holes, yeah, I just -- I just been on Tour for a while. You just learn through experience, you just try to stay as cool as you possibly can. I think that today, I actually could feel the heat coming through the soles of my and you just try to stay as cool as you possibly can; particularly on changeovers, and for me to be able to punch a few holes in the hat, allows me to breathe a little bit, you know, up there, so -- yeah.

Q. How hot was it on the court today? Did you see a temperature?

MICHAEL CHANG: I was told they announced 110, but I was told it was 130, but they just didn't want to scare anybody.

JOE LYNCH: I saw 110.

MICHAEL CHANG: That is what I was told. It sure felt hotter than that. It felt hotter. I am sure if you took an egg and placed it on there, it would cook, cook pretty well too. So, yeah, it is just one of those days you realize toward the end of the week you are definitely in the desert.

Q. Why were the second and third sets so much easier than the first?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that the first set was incredibly crucial. I think that he was a little bit dejected from there. I think that, you know, I was able to move the ball around a little bit better in the second and third sets, and I could tell Paul was starting to get a little bit tired. He wasn't running down some of the shots, that he was, in the first set. And you could see it just in the way that kind of his body language was that he was just getting very frustrated and, for me, I just tried to stay concentrated and just tried to play even better tennis from there; just to stay on top of him, and, you know, take advantage of opportunities that were given to me. So I was able to maintain that.

Q. How do you evaluate the differences between a tournament that has three out of five first, seconds, third rounds versus two out of three, as far as the final?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think, you know, it really doesn't really matter all that much. I think, you know, for here, this particular week, as long as I can remember, the tournament finals always been three out of five, so the players know that coming into the week. For me, it doesn't really matter, either way.

Q. I meant the earlier rounds?

MICHAEL CHANG: You mean to have the other rounds, three out of five?

Q. Yes.

MICHAEL CHANG: I wouldn't suggest that. I think that, you know, that is what makes the Grand Slam a Grand Slam. It allows the player, if you are down to be able to come back, and I don't think that they should do that with the tournaments below the Grand Slams. I think that it would take away a little bit from the players, just make them very, very exhausted each day, particularly playing every single day it would be just too much.

Q. Do you think you really won this tournament when you beat Agassi in the quarterfinals?

MICHAEL CHANG: Absolutely not. The reason I say that is because you never know who is going to be able to come through the other sections. I mean, you know, Rios, both Ferreira, and Haarhuis beat Sampras and Ivanisevic. So, I mean, you look at the draw, you still see so many tough guys and you know that even that the guys who aren't seeded are tough players, so by no means, you know, do you ever feel like you have a tournament won.

Q. Michael, obviously in the past ten months or so you have come up short in some really big tournaments, but now to finally win a big tournament, to come through on the final day, how do you think that will affect you confidence-wise at the French and in other big tournaments?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is a great confidence booster for me. I actually thought about that earlier today. Last few tournaments that were really big tournaments, the Australian, the ATP Finals and also the French Open, and actually Cincinnati, last year, having lost it to Andre, so it was in the back of my mind, and it is one of those things, well, you learn it from the past and you take it and try to apply it to the future. So you never want to think about things that will, you know, make you won't make you play up to your potential. You don't ever want to have those kind of mental blocks. So today was a good, you know, a good tournament and a good victory for me, and, you know, hopefully come the next time, that won't cross my mind and hopefully next time I do play a Grand Slam final, or another big tournament, I will just be able to go out and just concentrate on my game and whatever happens is, you know, is in the Lord's hands.

Q. With this result, I understand you are going to go up to 4, which is your career best, equaling your career best. Any thoughts on that?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think that, for me, I have been to No. 4 before, so I think actually I was able to get there in 1992. So actually I had a good result here in 1992. So for me, I am not too concerned about the rankings, just continuing to work on my game; to strive to do well in the tournaments that I play and, you know, I know that you will -- the other things as far as, you know, doing well at the tournaments and ranking and stuff like that will all follow with the hard work. I think that in all things, you know, I think results pretty much always follow the hard work; coupled that with a lot of good rest in between, so you have a good balance of, you know, in your mind and as far as physically, so I will say very that will play a very crucial role.

Q. Carl sent you a note at the end of the match with the ball girl. Was that a note from your parents or your family to congratulate you?

MICHAEL CHANG: No, it was just a little stub reminding me to say something.

Q. Your serves were like 115 range today. Is that a new development or has that been --

MICHAEL CHANG: 115, I mean, I think that today I was throwing in a good mix of serves. I had one serve -- actually that first serve that was up only had 71 miles an hour. It was a kick serve, so, it varies. I mean, I will throw in a little bit of a change up; maybe I will hit one hard or flat, or slice one away. I mean, the first serve, I think, it comes down to you know, a certain amount of power, but also a great deal of placement, and if I am able to, you know, hit a 90 mile per hour serve and for it to be a service winner or ace that, for me, is much better than hitting a 120 mile per hour serve that is maybe right in the guy's zone. I think guys nowadays, they just see so many of these fast serves that if it is within their range, I mean, they are going to hit, not only hit it, but put you in a lot of trouble, so you need a good balance of where to serve and how to serve much like a pitcher.

JOE LYNCH: I think Michael's fastest is 124 for the career.

Q. Do you feel ready to win the Lipton as well?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, we will concentrate on it from here on out. I have got a few days to rest and recuperate, and, yeah, I am definitely looking forward to playing Lipton. It is a great event there as well. And it should be a lot of fun.

Q. Can you compare your week here in 1992 to this year and also your game in 1992 to your game now?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think many regards it was-- a bit similar. I mean, we prepared the same and I was pretty fresh coming into this event. I think that was something that I mentioned to you before that I wanted to make sure that I was fresh coming in, and, you know, when you play against the guys that you are going to play against this week, you have to be fresh. You have to come out and play your best tennis in order to do well. And I lightened my schedule a little bit and I was fortunate that things worked out quite well.

Q. Michael, do you think that you wanted this tournament more than the other top players?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is hard to say. I think everybody wants this tournament. It is a great tournament and, you know, it is one of those tournaments that, you know, that if you are able to win this event, it is something that, you know, you can always be proud of it. Because the field is really tough field and, you know, just overall, it is a great tournament, so I don't know if I want it more than other because everyone is out there trying their best. You go out on the practice courts and sometimes I will come into a week and maybe not at all feel like practicing a whole -- really, really hard; then you see all the other guys practicing hard; it makes you want to practice hard, so, you know, that is -- all the guys are out there. They are all giving their best and sometimes things go their way and sometimes not. So it is the cycle of tennis and that is just the way it is.

Q. How do you see these Super 9 events? Are they really the biggest ones on the ATP Tour in your mind? Do you really care about them?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I care about all the tournaments. I think that, for me -- for each -- at least for me, tournaments, whether they are big or not, some tournaments maybe they are a little bit smaller, but they mean a lot to me just because of maybe where it is or the people, or just a place that I really enjoy playing. But I think that to be able to -- obviously, the Super 9 tournaments are all going to be great events this year just with the field that each tournament is going to have, and -- yeah, so, I do not think you can say anything more than that. I mean, I know it is going to be tough and, you know, the Tour and everybody else does a great job as far as trying to make everything as easy for the players and for the spectators and everybody else because I think when we all concentrate on these things, improving things constantly just makes the game of tennis a heck after lot better.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.....

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