If Micheal Chang played in the 80's

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Zimbo, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    While watching Chang during the 90's I always thought he had bad luck playing in the era where power (off the ground and attacking players) became so important. You had Agassi, Sampras, Jim C, Muster, older Becker and Edberg etc..... It seemed like Chang would simply get over powered by the big boys at the biggest stages. At the time I always thought that if he played in the eighties (late wood and early graphite era) he would have won a few more grand slams. Now looking back, I think I would disagree with my previous what if scenario. Could Chang really be able to beat the early 80's boys of Borg, Mac, and Connors and then later in the 80's Wilander, Lendl, Becker, and Edberg? Of course he could be these guys on any given day, but would he be able to do it consistently to win a few more slams?
     
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  2. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    He might have done better but I am not sure how much. Becker, Lendl, and Connors would all be able to power Chang to defeat most of the time. Edberg and McEnroe's expertise in volleying and attacking the net would prevail over Chang's counterpunching and heart most times too. He definitely couldnt outsteady Wilander or Borg, outmaneuver either of them, outthink either of them, or even outrun or outwill Borg.

    If there is any era you want to speculate Chang might have done better it would be if his prime were 98-2002 instead of 1992-1996. Even in 2003-2007 he would have done better, although wouldnt have had much success vs Federer, he probably would have chances vs anyone else outside of grass (minus Nadal on clay).
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  3. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Chang in the 80's

    well, Michael did start his career in the late 80's and played most, if not all of the players mentioned below.

    While I think he'd be competitive against some of them in his prime, I do think they are a notch or two above him....but he did have wins over Lendl and Edberg on clay, so you could not count him out, obviously.

    but, in the early 80's faster surfaces were predominant (the grass was faster and you had indoor carpet)

    I think Michael would be hard pressed to beat the top guys (borg, mac, connors, lendl) consistently.

    for entertainment, see if you can find a copy of the '91 Chang v. Connors match...they have snippets of it on you tube, but they are kinda crappy...
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
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  4. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Chang is one of the most underrated players in my opinion. People call his French Open win a fluke. People think he had no offensive weapons. He was overshadowed by the star power of Agassi and Sampras. Meanwhile, he put together a pretty nice career in an era when the field was extremely deep.

    Chang didn't just beat Edberg in the '89 French, he also beat him twice in the finals on hardcourts at the Cincinnati Masters. He also has wins in finals over Rafter and other pure S&V players. He has wins in finals over power players like Agassi, Phillipoussis, Krajicek.

    Whether or not he could have done better in another era is up for discussion, but his career was already pretty impressive. I don't think the guy could have been #1 in any era but I think he would have had a similar level of success in any era with the tools he had. He wasn't a pusher that any modern big western forehand player could overpower. Chang in his prime would destroy a guy like Fernando Gonzalez.
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Agreed. He remains the most strategically versatile player (mentally) and determined player, I've ever seen. It's easy to use the stereotype "counterpuncher, no power", but that wasn't true at all. He maximized his power potential, could hit with the big boys, coudl use his groundstrokes as weapons, could hit early or play retriever, wasn't afraid to come to net, probably developed the best volleys of all the dedicated baseliners, pumped up his serve....people forget, while Chang chose to play defense when he thought it to his advantage, and while he knew he could not overpower the biggest guys, he was not toothless. In his prime, he'd have been a contender in any era. A few slight changes in fate, and he'd have ended his career with 4 or 5 slams. He wouldn't have dominated any era, but he'd be in their at the top.
     
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  6. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I liked Michael a lot; he had a lot of game for a little guy. Certainly not "toothless", for sure. I think he was a little unlucky and should have won more slams...I really expected him to beat both Muster and Becker in those finals he lost....Boris was well past his prime at that point...
     
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  7. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

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    I think Chang would have done a better job had he played 10 years earlier, given the fact the first Prince Graphite Oversize was made in 1977. At least his weapons are complete :) But a problem is at that time many juniors were taught to play with a s&v game, not sure how he could end up with, if he were born 10 years earlier.
     
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  8. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I guess Michael and Carl dont' agree, but from my eye, I always though Chang would have done better had he stuck with POG!

    In my opinion, he lost an edge in some key things when he switched to the longbody.
     
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  9. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    I played him in 1981, does that count? :)

    Hes the greatest mover on the court of all time without a doubt. His calves were the size of NFL footballs by the time he was 12.

    It took alot for anyone to beat that little dude. He was fierce. He had the heart of a lion even in the juniors.

    I think he did quite well in his era as pointed out.
     
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  10. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

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    The longbody sure helped his serve. I am not sure about the rest of his game. Actually when he reached his career high ATP #2 ranking, he was using his longbody right? But anyway it is hard to argue against the POG, can't beat it in most cases.
     
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  11. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Did it? I'm not so sure, even though i know they believed so. Yes, Chang had good pop to his serve then...but I noticed in late 92 and 93, that he had already achieved a nice hard flat serve. (He changed his motion many many times) Yes, the longbody probably added 5mph...but was it worth it? He MIGHT have been more accurate even on serve with the POG...but in any case, many questioned his strategy of going for fast but very low percentage first serves. I suspect that he could have gotten about the same results on his first serve even with his POG. Ok, maybe 10% of the aces he had before, the guy would have gotten his racquet on because of slightly less pace, but he could ace people even with the POG.

    More tellingly, I thought his consistency in depth was worse with the longbody. Not a lot...obviously he adjusted well...and really he COULD play with anything, but, maybe he was 10-20% less consistent with the longbody...OK, maybe he got 10% more pace...SOMETIMES...but was it worth it? AND in fact, I think he only got 10% more pace on shots he could set up well for...he might have gotten LESS pace on toughs shots...and on shots he could set up well for, he already had ENOUGH pop. Worse, I thought his directional accuracy was slightly less...which meant, on a challenging ball, the difference between hitting 3 feet inside the corner vs right in the corner, or a shorter angle up the sideline!

    It was just an impression I had...he obviously felt the advantages outweighed the disadvantages, but maybe he was mistaken. He wanted more pace on serve, he wanted aces...the longbody helped A BIT with that, and then he got used to it, and maybe never really questioned seriously if he should go back? Plus, he whenever he would hit winners then, commentators and maybe even Chang himself, thought, wow, see that longer racquet really has given him more power....forgetting, that when Chang was getting stronger and more aggressive, he was already capable of hitting winners before!
     
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  12. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Chang was a great player. Not sure if he was underrated. He didn't get as much credit as his American peers like Agassi, Courier, and Sampras, but seriously, he didn't deserve as much respect as them. He didn't accomplish as much.

    Was never a fan of him. To this day, he's the guy who most often questioned the most blatantly correct calls. And I really think it was gamesmanship.
     
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