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March 14, 1996

Michael Chang


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 quarterfinal?

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 much there.

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.

End of FastScripts.....

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