Tennis Prose



Biofile with Michael Chang

Status: 1989 French Open champion. Winner of 34 career ATP singles titles. Highest ATP ranking of #2 in 1996. Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 165

DOB: February 22, 1972 In: Hoboken, N.J.

First Tennis Memory: “Probably hitting against the basement wall when I was young. With my mom (Betty), my dad (Joe) and my brother (Carl).”

Childhood Ambitions: “How long do you got [smiles]? Somedays I wanted to be a veterinarian, somedays a tennis player, become a fisherman or doctor or pediatrician. I’ve gone through various things. I was like, well, maybe I want to go there…oh, but, that seems good, maybe I want to go there. (I) just seeked out what I enjoy to do.”

Favorite Sports Outside Tennis: “I enjoy fishing and golf a lot.”

Pre-Match Feeling: “I think, for me, I get a little bit nervous. But it depends on the situation. Grand Slams made me a little more nervous than normal. I don’t think I felt any different from anyone else. (Visualize?) No, but I’d go through a gameplan for the player I was playing. Go over what I want to accomplish. Get my priorities in order.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “Now it’d be tough to compete against Djokovic [smiles]. I think most of the players know that he likes to do imitations. I’d say it’s pretty funny when he does it. So I think most of the guys know he does it just for fun.”

Strangest Match: “I think one of the matches that was a little out of the ordinary was my match with Lendl (then world #1 at 1989 French Open – 46 46 63 63 63), with the cramps and stuff like that. So nothing too out of the ordinary.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “French Open ’89. Just something that seemed sort of like a fairy tale story. The way I look at it, I think it was meant to be. The way everything happened. At that point in time, Tiannamen Square was going on. It was a difficult thing for the Chinese people and the world to see. I think God wanted something good to happen to a Chinese person halfway around the world.”

Most Painful Moment: “Maybe the Lendl match [laughs]. Or when I fractured my hip in ’89. That was difficult. But I feel like there’s a reason for everything. I don’t look at the negative. I feel blessed.”

Favorite Tournament(s): “I have too many favorites. All for different reasons.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “I played on Court 1, which was the Grandstand back in the day. And I remember I had gone up to the net and I did a split-step. And my pants ripped. And I had to actually go and ask the chair umpire if I could go back to the locker room to get my – another pair of shorts. I never had that happen to me. That’s the only time I had that happen to me. And he was laughing when I told him that. (Remember the opponent?) I don’t remember the opponent. All I remember is that.”

Best You Ever Felt On Court: “It’s tough to say. I had a lot of good matches. Some matches I won, some matches I lost. It’s tough to compete with the matches that I played at the French Open – I was just really playing well. I felt like I was just blessed those couple of weeks. I had a lot of great matches at the U.S. Open which was a lot of fun to be a part of. But I think, all in all, I feel very blessed to have had the chance to play for 16-plus years out on Tour (1987-2003) and it’s nice obviously to go out there and win and stuff like that. But it’s, you know, for me, if I’ve gone out there and I touched a life, somewhere along the road, it’s been well worth it.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Holyfield. I have a good deal of respect for him. He’s a fellow Christian. I respect that a lot. Other athletes that have a similar belief where I’m concerned. I like to follow them, see how they’re doing. Orel Hershiser. Certain people for certain things they’ve accomplished.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “I think it’s nice when you see people that give their best. And at the same time, have a good sense of respect for people. And humility. Even when they’re on top.”

Current Activities: Attends Talbot School of Theology. Operates the Chang Family Foundation and Christian Sports League ministry. Speaks to various people groups, universities, businesses, churches, conferences. Plays senior tennis tour events.

Family: Wife, Amber.

Residence: Orange County, CA.

(Color pencil drawing of Michael Chang by Scoop Malinowski in 1989)

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