Highlights of a live chat Wednesday with Michael Chang.
Michael Chang, a former French Open champion who will play in a Champions Cup Series event Oct. 13 in KeyArena, talked about playing tennis at 39, the feud between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, and living on Mercer Island in a live chat Wednesday with readers.
Q: Anyone on the Champions tour that you look forward to facing and beating?
Chang: I look forward to having the opportunity to beat all those guys, since they beat on me so much in the main tour. … All of us are retired, but none of our egos has changed.
All of these matches are quite serious because there is a lot riding on the line. The winner of this tour is going to take home a half-million dollars.
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Q: How long had you lived in the Seattle area, and when did you leave?
Chang: I lived on Mercer Island from 1998 until around 2004. I loved it in Seattle. I did so much fishing and got a chance to train up there, made a ton of friends. I even enjoyed the weather, believe it or not.
I’m down in Mission Viejo, Calif., now.
Q: What did you think of Andre’s Agassi’s book? Are Pete Sampras and Andre not on good terms?
Chang: If you’re asking me that question, you must not have seen their exhibition doubles match when they played Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. To refresh your memory, Pete almost took Andre’s head off on a serve — on the fly, not on the bounce. They’re having some issues.
Q: Of the Grand Slam events, which was your favorite to play in?
Chang: Every Grand Slam has a different flavor. The Australian Open is very relaxed, the French Open is very emotional, Wimbledon is very traditional and proper, and the U.S. Open is very exciting and chaotic. I enjoyed playing at the French and the U.S. Open the most.
Q: As a kid, who were your favorite players to watch?
Chang: The generation that I grew up watching was the (John) McEnroe, (Bjorn) Borg, (Jimmy) Connors, (Ivan) Lendl generation. I got a chance to play against every single one of those players except Borg. I played John McEnroe for the first time at the French Open in ’88, which was the year before I won in ’89. The press conference the day before, John was saying, “I’m going to play this 16-year-old kid and I’m going to kill him.” It’s kind of tough not shaking in your shoes at that.
My first mistake was that I let him walk out on the court first. The Parisians love John, and he raised his hands like he was royalty, and I walked out after him feeling like the little ball boy who was going to carry his stuff.
Q: Pete vs. Andre in a cage match. Who wins?
Chang: With or without a racket? I would have to favor Andre. Andre’s dad is a boxer, so I assume that Andre probably has a little bit of that in him. … Pete’s taller but Andre is probably stronger.