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September 3, 1994

Michael Chang


Q. Could you talk in some detail about how you changed your serve to get more pace on it to make it a bigger serve?

MICHAEL CHANG: Basically, I have just done a few minor things, minor adjustments. I think a lot of it has to do with doing some upper body strength and also I have just been hitting a heck of a lot more serves. Concentrating little bit more on ball toss, minor things like that, and trying to do all the other things that makes a really good serve, getting the toss up and going up and just trying to hit it and just a lot of accuracy. I think that comes with just practicing it more and more.

Q. Is your racket preparation different?

MICHAEL CHANG: As far as my serve? No. I think it is important to have a good fluid motion. I think if you look at majority of the big serves, like Stich and Sampras, they have a very fluid motion and they are able to get a lot of good timing and a lot of good accuracy.

Q. Finally, one more question on your serve. Did you find it surprisingly easy, so easy that you perhaps wondered, "why didn't I do something about this several years ago"?

MICHAEL CHANG: Unfortunately, several years ago I was a little bit shorter and a little bit-- I wasn't as strong. So I think there are a few combinations of a few things that have contributed to the serve. I am still working on it, for it to become a more consistent weapon for me. I will have some days where it kind of goes off on me, I want to be able to serve well and...

Q. Your improved serve, how has that helped your overall game?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think it has helped me to hold my serve a lot easier. Before I had to work so hard to just win those points and now I am able to get one or two free points on my serve which, you know, get me out of trouble or can move me up in a game, quite quickly. So you know, it is a good addition to my game, and I think that you know, serve has become an even more important part of the game now because players are capable of hitting 20 something aces per match. It does come into play very much, so...

Q. A general impression of just how things have gone through the first week here, and, you know, things start to pick up for you going into--

MICHAEL CHANG: It has been a very good first week for me. I think whenever you are able to get through the first week it is a plus, and I think my intensity level will gradually increase as we move on into the second week and, you know, I am happy with the way the matches have gone. I think that against Mal-- I had a really tough match out there. I think that was good more me mentally to really get me in there. And, you know, other than that, I am just going to continue to try to stay as sharp as I can and hopefully in my next match play my best tennis.

Q. At this point is something like today a good thing for you because you didn't have to -- you didn't go three sets or did you need a greater test today?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, depends on how you look at it. You can have matches-- sometimes if you play a five-set match it can really take its toll on you, physically. Then, all of a sudden, things start to hurt here and there. Other than that, I mean, it really depends. I am actually going to go out and hit a little bit more because I've come from having two days off, so I want to be able to try to stay sharp. I think it is a little bit unfortunate today on Jim's part that he hurt his shoulder again. I think that actually, a couple of years ago he originally hurt hit against me, playing against me in doubles. So I guess I have been a little bit of bad luck for him. But I can tell he wasn't serving very hard at all. That is really the basis of his game, and, you know, it is-- you could just tell he was hurting out there.

Q. Assuming Pete is healthy, how do you assess the chances of the other contenders of maybe rising up to his level or maybe him sliding down; what are the chances of that happening any time soon?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think -- that is a difficult question because Pete hasn't really been tested a whole lot just yet, and I think it is really going to come down to the person who is really going to be able to kind of test him out there. I think when he starts getting in those tense situations, we'll kind of see where Pete is because normally when you've been out, you know, having played on the Tour for quite some time, you come back and you might have a few nice comfortable matches. But when you get into the tight situations like the tiebreakers and things like that, you are not quite mentally prepared for those. Just because you are a little bit out of match practice and I don't know exactly how Pete will react or if that situation will ever come up, but it is something that we'll just kind of have to wait and see. It is going to have to come down to a player coming out and testing him and giving him a run. So far, he hasn't had that.

Q. Along with the bigger serve, have you given up any accuracy on your serve?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that accuracy plays a very important role on the serve, partly because guys are used to seeing 120 something mile per hour serves coming at them. I think majority of guys don't mind that kind of serve coming at them, as long as it is in their range. So that plays a very important role. You have got guys out there who are 6 foot 6 and capable of hitting a 120 mile an hour serve, but the accuracy is not there. So they are not getting as many free points.

Q. Have you lost any accuracy?


Q. Yes.

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think so. Just basically just going out there and hitting it until I hit it consistently. If I am missing it, I will continue to hit it and make minor adjustments to make things better.

Q. Are the mechanics of your serve different than a guy 6 foot 6?

MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think so.

Q. Are you getting anxious to get to another Slam final, you know; it has been, what, five years since you have won that one? Is that starting to --


Q. Bother you, motivate you, anything like along those lines?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. Not really. You know, I think that if I started thinking like that, I am going to end up trying to compare myself with Pete and with Jim and that is something that I really don't want to do because my purpose is different. So I think that just from that, I am trying to go out and constantly improve on my game and I know that opportunities will come by, where I will get chances to win other Grand Slam tournaments. And I think over the past couple of years here I have had a couple of good chances. Last year I think had I gone past Pete in the quarterfinals, the draw was very open, and the year before that, losing to Stefan in a tough five setter and then you know, playing Pete in the finals, so I think I have had some -- I have had my chances, and I am hoping that they will come around again and hopefully I will be able to take advantage of it.

Q. Do you feel it will come around here faster than anywhere else?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I think that of all the Grand Slam tournaments I think that my best chances of winning are in this point in time, I think are here at the Open and also at the Australian, partly because both are very similar surfaces and I haven't done all that well on clay in my lifetime, really, the French Open just kind of came in there and just kind of took it, and it was just an incredible tournament, but you know, I think that -- I am improving little by little so that is something that I want to keep on doing as long as I am making progress year after year, I know that I will get closer and closer.

Q. Do you feel like you are almost going against the grain, a lot of players in tennis seem to, you know, establish themselves, but then I mean, like Courier going through problems almost like sliding back; you seem to be going the other way, improving your game; doing things to get better?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think everybody goes through a period of where they struggle a little bit. That is part of life. For Jim it is on the tennis court and for everybody else it is in their job or in paying bills, just things like that. Everybody goes through them. I have had my share as well. I fractured my hip in 1989; after that, you know, my ranking slipped in 1990 to somewhere around like 28 or something, and I was hovering around 15 for a couple of years and trying to work myself back. Everybody has them. It is just the way life is, and I think in many senses it is kind of God's way of kind of toughening you up; making you stronger for the next hurdle. And, you know, that is the way I look at it that. There is a reason for everything, and, you know, I noticed that in many instances that you say, why does this come upon me, why does this come upon me. A lot of it is -- makes you a better person, makes you look at life in a more positive way; not put so much emphasis tennis-wise on winning or losing or getting to a certain round in a certain tournament, because those pressures are, in my opinion, they are not necessary to put on yourself.

Q. Talk about the next round facing Andre or Wayne?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, I have played Wayne the last couple of years here at the Open. I think that it will be a very tough match, but I think Andre would come through through there. Obviously Wayne is playing some good tennis winning at Indy, so it will be a good match there. Obviously either player I play is going to be a very difficult opponent, you know, it is -- that is about it. It is just going to be tough.

Q. A lot of people following the tournament were kind of hoping that you would end playing Andre in a fourth round. As a player when you saw the draw, is that something you are anxious for too, as the tournament goes on, that you are kind of building up to that point?

MICHAEL CHANG: I really don't look that far. When I first come into a Grand Slam tournament I am just taking it match by match. I think when you start to look at things too far ahead, you know, who I am playing in round 16, or the quarters or semis it many times doesn't happen that way because the depth of men's tennis is so great now that a lot of seeded players aren't able to get through their side of the draw. So I am taking it match by match and once again, that is the way I am going to take it this time.

Q. But does playing Andre mean more to you than you know, just somebody else; does he bring a different attitude to a match as far as your preparation is concerned?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think when people play Andre it brings a little bit more intensity out. I think that -- I think particularly when Jim, Pete, Andre and I, whenever we play against each other, it doesn't matter where, doesn't matter what surface, brings out an extra intensity. It is just something about-I don't know-there is something about a pecking order there, we are just trying to -- I don't know -- it is just an extra intensity. We are just more eager to beat each other when we are around the tennis court. Off-court it is different, but on-court you try to maintain a certain advantage, I guess.

Q. You mentioned back then when you are talking about comparing yourself to Pete and Jim you didn't want -- about Grand Slams, you didn't want to do that. You said my purpose is different. Isn't your purpose out there to become world champion or win as many Grand Slams like Pete has talked about and like Jim has talked about?

MICHAEL CHANG: No. It is not. If that comes along the way, sure, I will take it. But you know, like I said, because Christianity takes the first precedence in my life. That is the main juice right there.

Q. What is your purpose of being out here?

MICHAEL CHANG: My purpose out there is to go out and to please the Lord, more or less, and go out there and try to use my tennis in a way that can touch peoples' lives in a positive way and get them looking at things in a positive light. I think tennis gives me that opportunity, being in such a way that always in the spotlight, you know, quite a bit on TV, and people coming out to watch. It is a very high profiled career.

Q. It wouldn't bother you at all if you never won another majors; if you achieved your purpose in pleasing God?

MICHAEL CHANG: Yeah. Yeah. But I don't know if that is his will.

Q. Is it your will?

MICHAEL CHANG: It is something that we just have to wait and see, but. .

Q. Have you asked him?

MICHAEL CHANG: Well, he has been quiet.

Q. Everything that has gone on with the other guys, I mean, Jim going out yesterday, Pete not knowing what his physical condition, Todd, has Gully come to you a lot, Tom Gullikson, has he come to you in the last couple of days and talked to you in these weeks?

MICHAEL CHANG: I think in this this particular time because it is U.S. Open time, I think Gully has been quiet for all the player. He realizes that all the guys want to be able to concentrate in this tournament. They know that it is important. And I don't think Gully wants to really get anybody's mind sidetrackd from accomplishing what they want to accomplish here.

Q. Do you expect to hear from him? Are you ready to go?

MICHAEL CHANG: I always expect to hear from Gully regardless if I am playing or not playing because he handles things in a very professional manner. If I am not playing he will let me know that I am not playing. So you know, he is very good at that. I think he is able to keep a good relationship with all the players, regardless if they are playing or not.

Q. Thanks a lot, Michael.

End of FastScripts...

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