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March 14, 1996
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Q. Apart from the little bit at the start of the second set,
it seemed fairly comfortable?
MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, it was a good match today. I didn't quite
expect the rain to pop in. The weather was quite nice earlier
today and all of a sudden just that one cloud came over and kind
of, you know, halted things for a little bit, but, you know, overall,
things went well today.
Q. Michael, were you serious the other day when you said
you don't expect your career to be over in six years?
MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that -- I don't know if I expect
it to be over, but I mean, as far as, you know, just saying like
one is kind of to the point where you are not able to move anymore;
not able to play the game of tennis anymore, I think that is what
I was referring to more so. I personally don't know, you know,
how things are going to be as far as my career, as far as like,
you know, where I will be playing before I retire and stuff.
I just have to kind of wait and see how things go, but I am only
24 years old, so I technically shouldn't be referring to anything
as far as retirement, so, yeah....
Q. Well, there is five of you that came up together in that
same age bracket, basically Jim, Andre, and Pete and stuff. Do
you think any of you will be playing well in your '30s like Laver
and Emerson and any of those people?
MICHAEL CHANG: It is hard to say. This group of players for
the United States is quite incredible. Besides -- Pete and I
are a little bit younger, but we always played a couple of divisions
up, so we were playing with Jim and Andre. Andre turned pro a
little bit early, but he was still in that same bracket, Mal Washington,
Todd Martin, you know, a few other players as well, actually my
brother Carl belonged to that class as well. It was just an incredible
class of players. To see so many guys come from that 1987 year,
to see them do well, is pretty amazing, but I think that we have
really pushed each other throughout our junior careers and even
to this day still pushing each other quite a bit.
Q. Do you think that it is a long ways off before the class,
the five of you, are gone, but do you think there could be a serious
problem with American tennis because there doesn't seem to be
that rising prospects among the younger --
MICHAEL CHANG: I really don't know because I haven't been paying
that much attention to the junior tennis. I know that -- I think
as far as some of the other tournaments, I haven't seen some of
the other juniors, U.S. Juniors do quite as well as before.
But you know that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Sometimes
you don't do well in juniors and you do really well in professional.
It really depends, but, you know, I am sure that as the years
go on, you will see a lot of -- a lot of great players coming
out from the United States always. I think that tennis has always
been a very strong point as far as U.S. is concerned, so hopefully
that will continue.
Q. Looking forward to tomorrow. What are the special features
about playing Andre?
MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that, for one thing, we go back
quite a ways; one of those things where we grew up playing against
each other, and I think that it is a bit of a different type of
personalities that makes things a bit interesting. I think, in
many ways, we play a different style of tennis as well. Still
play primarily from the back, but, you know, still in many ways,
you know, quite different, so yeah, should be a lot of fun tomorrow;
look forward to it.
Q. If you could say one thing that you have learned from
your two Grand Slam finals over the past ten months or so, what
would that be?
MICHAEL CHANG: I don't know if I can learn one particular thing
as far as the both of them. I know that -- if I were to pick
a part each match, I would say that my match against Thomas in
the French Open, maybe I should have been a bit more patient and
my match with Boris in Australia, maybe I was a little too patient,
so I need to find a better median there. Hopefully that next
time around, things will be just right, but it was good. I mean,
both tournaments have given me a lot of confidence and as well
as doing well in Frankfurt, both -- all three tournaments have
really given me a lot of confidence to go out and to, you know,
really believe that I can go out and win another Grand Slam tournament;
give myself that really good positive attitude; not just wanting
to do well, but to actually go out and win those tournaments because
I believe that I am capable of doing that and there is no reason
why I shouldn't.
Q. Do you think there is any other player who puts out as
hard as you do, as consistently, and, you know, you seem to show
up every single match; very seldom there is a let-down, whereas,
Pete and Andre, have a little bit more peaks and valleys. Is
there anybody that you see that is sort of as tough as you are?
MICHAEL CHANG: Not necessarily. I think that -- I mean, everybody
has their days where they don't play as well, but obviously for
me, whether my game is there or not, I am still coming out and
trying to play my best tennis. You are not able to do that all
the time because it is just not humanly possible, so I think it
varies from person to person. I think, you know, I think a lot
of guys are out there are able to just play, you know, pretty
solid tennis overall and pretty consistently, so I don't think
that I should be an exception to that.
Q. You are a little bit like Connors who was seldom -- always
he fought like heck and always had a very high level of tennis;
didn't seem to have many bad matches. Just because he was as
intense as you are or as determine as you are, would you identify
with him as with his consistency?
MICHAEL CHANG: Part of it is not wanting to lose and part of
it, I think, for me learning over the years is having a really
intelligent schedule. I think schedulewise, if I am playing too
many weeks in a row, obviously, if I am still wanting to give
my best, but am just not able to because my body is saying, look,
I need a rest, so I think schedulewise, I have tried to space
things out a little bit to prepare for, you know, the Grand Slams
and also for the big tournaments and stuff. Actually, for all
the tournaments I have lightened up my load a little bit over
the past couple of years and it has definitely helped me out.
Q. Could you talk for a minute or two about your movement
and your anticipation which is such a tremendous asset, what are
the keys there, is it a strong first step? Is it reading the
opponent and the opponent's racket and the position or never give
up attitude; what are the keys of it?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is a combination of things. For me,
I think that realizing that I don't think that there is a ball
that I can't reach. If it is just -- I mean, if the guy just
whacks it and it is just absolutely no chance, then forget it,
but if he has placed a shot or if he has hit it pretty well and
I still feel like I have got a chance to run that ball down, I
am going to try for it because you never know when I am able to
get that ball back and maybe sneak it by him for a winner, or
he hits it for a loose error or you never know, but as far as
anticipation, it is a combination of things. It is a combination
of knowing where you are on the court, and also, you know, kind
of knowing your opponent a little bit, maybe what shots he prefers
to hit. Other than that, sometimes it is just a guessing game,
50/50. So sometimes you just happen to guess right, and even
more so if you are able to move a little bit better, obviously,
you are going to be able to get to that ball a little quicker
than some of the other players.
Q. You can't attend a Michael Chang match without at least
one shot where the crowd is being really amazed at one of your
retrievals. Have there been shots that even surprised you that
you were able to get to?
MICHAEL CHANG: Kind of not. I kind of -- it is just kind of
one of those things that I wouldn't try for ball if I didn't think
I could get it, type of thing, so sometimes maybe my legs aren't
quite there, but, you know, you never know. You never know.
Q. And finally now that the statute of limitations has run
out, can you tell us what went through your mind on why you came
to the service line against Lendl on matchpoint at the French
MICHAEL CHANG: French round of 16?
Q. Round of 16.
MICHAEL CHANG: I was, you know, I was in one of those positions
where I was just trying to take advantage of anything. I was
just trying to be patient, playing real patient tennis; just trying
to keep the ball in play. I was just trying to keep the ball
high and Ivan wasn't doing anything. He was keeping it high and
I was keeping it high. When he happened to hit a good shot, I
missed it on a couple of occasions. On that situation, I know
Ivan is under a lot of pressure. He is down two match points,
at least, I got one to spare if I miss it, and, you know, personally,
I don't want to make any quick moves to go up to hit the ball.
I know that Ivan is going to be tight, so I am going to step
up a little bit and if I can pick it off and go for it, go for
it and hit a winner, you know, there is that good chance that
I will have a good look at it and maybe make it.
Q. You move so quickly; all that stuff, are you pretty fast
straight ahead or if you run a 100 yard dash or whatever, are
you pretty fast or are you just sort of quick?
MICHAEL CHANG: I am better the first 40. I have raced some
track athletes before because my trainer works with a lot of track
athletes, and within the first 40, I am ahead of them. But after
that, they start getting their stride and then they end up beating
me, so I have to race someone and I say let us do a 40 yard dash.
Tennis, you don't need to be fast. Court is too small to be fast.
Tennis, you need to be quick. You are really only taking a few
steps here and there and the occasional, you know, long run, if
you can call it that, but then again, it is not really that, you
know, pretty much any intense steps anywhere and you are pretty
Q. Steffi is on-court now. When you watch her, are you impressed
by her movement and her quick steps and her court coverage?
MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah, I think Steffi obviously has great footwork.
The thing that even makes it more dangerous is that besides that
she has great footwork. A lot of times she is the one dictating
the shots. She hits the inside out forehand and when she is hitting
that much pace, it is tough to get it to the other side so more
or less you are just kind of camping out there just bashing her
forehand and the other people are moving quite a bit, but, yeah,
but Steffi definitely has some very good footwork.
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