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September 2, 1992
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Are you satisfied with the performance today?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think it wasn't bad for a first rounds match.
I think that I probably wouldn't have won it a little bit after
the lapse in a first set. I was up 2 breaks and I had a game
to go, 4-Love, actually, two game points, 40-15. I think that
in that situation, I have to keep my head in a little bit better.
I think I have to be a lot more careful next time, because, you
know, I could have lost the first set. I think it was. I'll
take a lot from this match, and apply it in the rest of the tournament.
Q. Michael, you are seeded number 4 here. You have won
three tournaments recently. To what do you attribute your improvement?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is probably, you know, working on
my game, persevering at it and realizing that when you work on
certain aspects of your game that they are not going to come overnight.
That you have to keep working at them and it is going to take,
you know, quite some time. In my case it has been about a year
and a half now where I have really tucked my head down and tried
to concentrate on my serve and my volleys and try to become more
of an aggressive player. And I think it is-- at the moment, it
is starting to come together, you know, better and better each
day. By no means is it like a Stefan Edberg combination, but
I feel that if I keep working at it, you know, I feel I can only
Q. Do you feel you are at-- maybe on the verge of moving
to the next level at this tournament, in particular, where you
have reached the fourth round before, but not gone past?
MICHAEL CHANG: I would like too, definitely. You know, I feel
that I am out of this mentality where, you know, I got to the
rounds 16, that is good enough. I think that I have gotten to
a point, maybe just watching some of the other players, maybe
Courier and Sampras, in particular, that they are able to do --
to get, you know, a little bit farther in the Grand Slam events,
and you know, basically say to myself, well, you have-- I have
grown up with these guys. I have played them a lot. I have won
a few times, and you know, why am I not able to put something
together like they are? I think in a sense, it gives me quite
a bit of a boost, to say, well, if they can do it can, I can do
Q. Do you feel stronger now than you have been in the past?
You seem stronger out there.
MICHAEL CHANG: I feel stronger. I don't know if I look stronger.
That wasn't a joke, actually. I think that -- I think that
the strength part you work on it a little bit, it is part of the
mature process? I am a little bit older. I think my body is
starting to mature a lot. I think that is going to help me out
in my overall game; to add a little bit more power to my game,
and not to really so much on defensive skills or tactics.
Q. A lot of players very near the top, at the top, talk
about a lot of the ups and downs and so on in being a top player.
Can you see, with all those ups and downs and you have already
been through it, can you see yourself playing at this level at
40, the way Connors is?
MICHAEL CHANG: It is another 20 years. It is tough to say.
I honestly feel that it probably would be difficult. The reason
being is that I think when Jimmy was 20, Jimmy Connors, I don't
think the game quite was as intense. I don't think that they
played as many tournaments as we play now and I think that it
is probably much more demanding on your body, you know, and on
your mind now. I think that it was probably a little bit easier
back then. You would have-- like, you go, maybe, through the
first couple of rounds, just kind of like walk a little bit, then
you start to get to the tougher matches. Nowadays every match
is tough. And you have to go out there and be ready to go for
the first ball.
Q. Do you feel a little bit a part of this Connors old man
legend because of the French, a couple of years ago? You kind
of got attached to him with the ad. Do people often approach
you and bring up Connors and that stuff?
MICHAEL CHANG: No. They just tell me to nupe it. I don't think
that -- no.
Q. Do players on the tour-- do you think players on the
tour like to see Connors winning at this age? Making a run like
MICHAEL CHANG: I think it depends on who they play. If he plays
me, I am going to want to. I am not going to want to see him
win. I think that, you know, I think that, like, situation like
last year, I feel that that was really good for the game. I feel
that was great for the U.S. Open. It made it much more exciting
than it already is, and you know, I welcome that. I have nothing
against Jimmy doing well. Everybody is out there to try to do
the best that they can, and you know, Jimmy had a great run last
year, and you have to take your hat off.
Q. Because in a way, I guess just having old guys hang around
and hanging around takes a little bit of our attention from the
MICHAEL CHANG: I don't think so. I don't think 40 is all that
old. I got a clap their somewhere. In a sense, he made me sound
like 40 is like you can't do anything anymore. Like you can barely
get out of bed or something. You know, I feel that Jimmy kind
of-- it is a lot -- I guess, in a sense he is just out there.
He is not out there anymore for the ranking or anything like
that. You know, I think he knows what his body takes. He knows
what it needs in order to get ready, and you know, I think he
has probably gone through a few changes in his routines. You know,
a little bit shorter, but maybe a little bit more intense, and
he is able to go out and play five sets.
Q. Can you comment on the second set where you were down
four games? And then how did you get yourself out of that?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think at 4-Love in the second, you know, I
just tried to, you know, basically tried to get up back on the
board in the second set. You know, I tried to just keep my head
in it and not think so much that it was 4-Love, but work on it
little by little, point by point, and good points turn into games
and stuff. And next thing I know, I was up -- I won nine straight
games. I think that also that you start to miss a little bit
more. I started to make more returns. He served very, very well
throughout the whole match, actually. At some points it was on
and off, but I think that I was able to kind of get on his serve
a little bit and make him hit a few more balls and I think that,
in turn, forced a few more errors.
Q. Were you surprised that you were even able to win on
your second serve?
MICHAEL CHANG: That I what?
Q. You were able to win on your second serve?
MICHAEL CHANG: No. I mean, because they were, like, to my eyes,
kind of. So, actually, that is my tactic. If I hit a little
bit slower than everybody else, it kind of throws them off a little
bit. (Laughter) I think -- well, slow, compared to his second
Q. That was my guess.
MICHAEL CHANG: His second serve was going like 100 miles per
hour. Nobody hits it that hard. I think that is why he hit a
few more doublefaults. But, you know, I think that normally --
as far as the serving part for me, you know, if he is able to
win point after point on my second serve, obviously I am going
to work on getting the first serve in. If they are not doing
it as effectively, I am just going to keep going for my first
serve and just worry -- not really worry about the second, because
if they are not winning points off my second serve, it doesn't
bother me to hit a second serve.
Q. You talked a little while ago, Michael, about 18 months
ago working on your serve and volleying. What precipitated that
change? Did you a kind of take stock in your career and where
it was going? Or what kind of triggered that whole going back
to the laboratory?
MICHAEL CHANG: I looked at the way the game was changing, the
way that players were starting to play; I think that in a sense
the match today is kind of a good example. He uses a wide body
racket, the big serves, big volleys, went for a lot of ground
strokes. That has really been the style of tennis lately. I
don't think that it is becoming a trend. I think it is-- in a
sense, that it is -- I have thought of it more like a strategy.
If you can hit the ball 130 miles per hour, you know, the guy
can't get it back. Keep doing it. If I can do that, I would
keep doing it too. So in turn, I think you have to be able to
change your game. I think for me in particular, I am not so much
of a power player. I can just blow somebody off with my serve,
that I have to change certain aspects of my game to keep them
thinking all the time, to say, well, if you can hit a hard shot
when I come into the net that maybe this is that much away from
my racket and still in the court you're deserving to win. If
you can hit that ball as hard as you can and still be that accurate,
then you're deserving to win. But until they can show me that
they can do that, you know, that is why I have to mix it up.
I have to come in a little bit. You know, I have to serve well.
Play defensive tennis when I am forced to play defensive tennis.
Keep him always thinking.
Q. Since Ivan Lendl dominated the late '80s, we haven't
had anyone really in the men's tour to stay up there. Is that
a part of the progression in terms of competition --
MICHAEL CHANG: I think it is. Honest, I think it is part of
the depth of men's tennis. You know, I really think that it is
no longer, you know, three players that are really dominating
the whole tour. I think it is more like, you know, I think the
first the top three, at the moment, have really solidified their
spots; they may interchange a little bit, but at the moment, they
are kind of ahead of the rest of the group.
Then you have anywhere from like four to ten, which are changing
week after week, depending on performances, and you know, the
game is no longer just three guys beating everybody else. It
is ten guys. It is a lot of other guys just coming out and having
their moments in particular tournaments.
Q. What would you say the depth is attributed to? Is that
because there is more money in the game or more exposure? What
is going on?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think partly- - it is tough to say, to pinpoint
one. But I think, honestly, partly, one of the reasons could
be that if you have a best 14 system, you could kind of go out
and just kind of like play, in a sense, with no pressure. The
old system was like every tournament counted. If you didn't do
well, your average dropped. If you did well, your average would
go up. Now it is kind of, like, well, I have my best 14, I can
just kind of go out and swing away. If I don't do so well, it
is, you know, it is okay. I have the next tournament. I saw
one guy had like 35 tournaments on there. You know, I am not
making any criticisms to the ATP or anything, but I think that
is probably one of the things that enables guys who are ranked
a little bit lower to just kind of go out and just swing away.
Not have to worry so much about, whether dropping in the rankings
or what have you.
Q. The general view at the present moment is that Pete Sampras
is going to have the title. Do you see anybody else and what
is your view?
MICHAEL CHANG: I think Pete is playing very, very well at the
moment. I think that it is difficult to, you know, pinpoint who
is going to win the Open, because, really, the Open is very different
from a small tournament. I think that you can take into consideration,
maybe last year, you know, you had Pete actually did very, very
well last year during the summer. You know, got to -- he won
L.A., he won Indy. Got to the finals of Cincinnati. Came in,
lost in the quarters. Courier did okay. Got to the semi-finals.
He ended up getting into the finals. Stefan, I don't think he
did that well. He got to the finals of Hamlet. Like ended up
winning the tournament. I don't think you can really go on other
hard court tournaments. It is just -- I think -- I don't think
it lives true. I just still think that -- I do think that Pete
has a good chance to win the Open. He obviously is capable of
doing that. Whether or not, we will have to see.
Q. Thank you very much.
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