Tell me about Michael Chang!

mtommer

Hall of Fame
I got to meet Chang when he came to play the exbo for the Nats some years back. Very nice guy. Tried to get him to tell why he moved away from Prince racquets but he wouldn't divulge the info. I also got to see him warmup before the exbo. I was very impressed with his ability to hit his spots consistently. Easily twenty or thirty balls within six inches of each other.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
a dollar store schwartzman
This is exactly what I mean by the disrespect.

Could a complete nobody like Schwartzman beat a prime Edberg, near prime Lendl, prime Agassi, and prime Sampras?

Schwartzman could walk over and bring Edberg, Sampras, and Lendl their water, that's about it.
 

tex123

Professional
What else do you want to know?
Did you have a better serve?:) You owned him at the French open 1989 final!

I certainly remember you having one. I'm not going to be blinded and put Lendl on a pedestal because he won so much with his ground game. Chang was very very underrated.
 

tex123

Professional
This is exactly what I mean by the disrespect.

Could a complete nobody like Schwartzman beat a prime Edberg, near prime Lendl, prime Agassi, and prime Sampras?

Schwartzman could walk over and bring Edberg, Sampras, and Lendl their water, that's about it.
Exactly. People disrespect Chang so much. He was every player's nightmare with his court coverage.
 

Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
He had tree trunk legs. I remember the first time I saw him play in person I thought “he has tree trunk legs.” :D A first class grinder and mentally tough. But when you had tickets and it ended up Pete v Chang it was disappointing. He was also known to annoy players — Agassi most notably who called him out — with his reported incessant locker room proselytizing.
 
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FD3S

Hall of Fame
Dunno what can be said that hasn't already! Insane wheels, not a ton of height/reach, bulldog mentality, and a rather effective serve for someone of his height. Underrated ground game as well; it's very easy to buy into the bog-standard evaluation of Chang as a pusher, but for every softball lobbed into play he'd also utilize the opponent's pace to rifle a vicious angle, send a rocket back with interest, or quickly try a sneak attack at net. It's also worth noting that in spite of his reputation it wasn't unheard of for him to blast the crap out of a forehand or backhand when given the opportunity; while his ideal game plan didn't involve power hitting, he was still a top flight ATP player. As David Foster Wallace noted in String Theory, any adult male is capable of crushing a tennis ball with sufficient timing and technique. Chang not teeing off very often did not equate to him being legitimately incapable of injecting his own pace.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I agree with Edge. Chang's game went downhill when he switched to the longbody racket. I grant you that the change was a thought out planned thing. He and Carl did not think he could win another Slam or become #1 without added punch to his serve and power to his game. Give them credit for trying. He started trying tohit a bigger 1st serve. His ace count went up and his ranking went down as people sat on his second serve. His first serve percentage went down. I admire his grit and his willingness to change to try to improve. Rather than stay in the top 5 without a chance ot become #1 he change to try to get to #1. It didn't work. If he had stayed with his game he would have stayed in the top 10 longer but would not have won another slam. (IMHO)
Michael claimed the long body helped him, but as an observer, I did not really see it. I enjoyed watching him...the ultimate counter puncher. I was bummed when he lost to Muster. Figured he had a shot at Becker, but was not going to happen w/Sampras at the USO. So, he won perhaps the toughest GS event and made finals of USO, likely the 2nd toughest. Plus a bunch of titles. Not too shabby. He played some doozies at the FO and USO as well. Maybe he was a little unlucky not to get another GS in the bag.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
He had tree trunk legs. I remember the first time I saw him play in person I thought “he has tree trunk legs.” :D A first class grinder and mentally tough. But when you had tickets and it ended up Pete v Chang it was disappointing. He was also known to annoy players — Agassi most notably who called him out — with his reported incessant lockerroom proselytizing.
Thickest Thighs award went to Chang (and Cash before him)! LOL
 

JoelDali

Talk Tennis Guru
Told the story in many threads but playing him in 1981 at the Santa Barbara Junior Open was a trip. Destroyed everybody in sight. Betty and Carl were just as serious and intimidating in the stands. He had the quads even at age 10. Phenom. Alien. Machine. Warrior. Brutal. Tenacious. The real deal at age 10. Probably playing at 5.5 level.
 

fezer

Rookie
Exactly. People disrespect Chang so much. He was every player's nightmare with his court coverage.
Cant agree.
I know that Boris Becker really enjoyed Michael's win over Agassi in the ao96sf! Agassi would have been His nightmare.
 

ChrisG

Professional
Chang was an incredible player, awesome stamina and shot accuracy.
Labeling him a grinder is an insult. Is Djokovic a grinder because he manages to keep the ball in court more than his opponents ?
Chang managed a great number of titles in an era stacked with hall of famers. In today’s slower surfaces, he would have been a problem for any top contender, as he did back in the days.
He lacked charisma but I’d rather see a player like him than a kyrgios or paire
 

Francoss

New User
Chang was a little fellow who had no technical nor mechanical weapons. His only hope was quickness, and the fact he was as scrappy as a three-legged steel-haired terrier that had just been fixed and sent home without pain killers. Bland. Overrated. But seemed like a nice guy.
You know. he was a great athlete, super strong legs, he played with an extended racquet that must have had a huge swing weight but he had great technique and was able to achieve the best topspin among baseline players. He won the French Open beating the best seeded players on his way up. Only a teenager then. Under appreciated by many. I don’t know why, but he was great to watch. A true gentleman as well.
 

MIRO_1975

Rookie
Although I was really mad at him when he beat my idol Ivan '89 in Paris, later I really liked watching him play with his "weightlifter-legs".

At some point I also noticed that he - even though he was a top player - changed his serving motion quite often (at least the motion before the toss).
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Cant agree.
I know that Boris Becker really enjoyed Michael's win over Agassi in the ao96sf! Agassi would have been His nightmare.
It's funny how that works right? Chang could beat Agassi, Becker can beat Chang, but not Agassi....matchups are funny like that
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Although I was really mad at him when he beat my idol Ivan '89 in Paris, later I really liked watching him play with his "weightlifter-legs".

At some point I also noticed that he - even though he was a top player - changed his serving motion quite often (at least the motion before the toss).
That match vs. Lendl is a classic...serving underhand was such a ballsy move...no top guy would have done it. I think he just rattled Lendl at that point
 
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