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Old 04-06-2005, 07:07 PM   #1
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Default Chang's decline...

This is what i posted on the other thread:

Chang career actually went downhill after the 1997 USO Semi final against Pat Rafter. He was the favourite to win that tournament when there was only him, Rafter, Rusedski and Bjorkman left in the other semi. Chang badly lost that match, and then lost like 4/5 consecutive matches in the 1st/2nd round at the end of the year and eventually lost his no. 2 ranking to Rafter (who won his first US open that year)...The following year Chang dropped out of the top 10 for the first in 7-8 years, and suffered big foot injuries during the '98 Indian Well/Key Biscaine period...After that, he lost a step or 2 and began a slow and torturous decline until he finally retired at the 2002 US Open. He only won 2 or 3 tournaments after that lost to Pat Rafter, and was never again a contender for Grand Slam or Master Series tournaments. In his final 2 or 3 years in the tour, he only won a handful of matches and was a shadow of a player he once was...Eventually in the 1st round of the 2002 US open, Gonzales who was the type of player Chang would have eaten for breakfast, blasted winners past him at will, and his most of his only wins in those years were on the challanger circuits

I would say his long decline was probably the one of the saddest sights in tennis. In a way, Pat Rafter was the guy who ended Chang's glorious career in that semi final..
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

Perhaps Pat Rafter won at a juncture in Chang's career- but ultimately the game had become too powerful and physical for Chang's game to be able to cope with it. Racquet technology was improving, the players were hitting harder his game became obsolete it's as simple as that.

What I did find surprising though is that his plunge down from the top was so sudden.
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

He couldn't adjust his game to the demands of the game and I didn't feel any sympathy for him.
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

Chang got the most out of his body. A huge inspirational overachiever.
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonE
Perhaps Pat Rafter won at a juncture in Chang's career- but ultimately the game had become too powerful and physical for Chang's game to be able to cope with it. Racquet technology was improving, the players were hitting harder his game became obsolete it's as simple as that.

What I did find surprising though is that his plunge down from the top was so sudden.
Maybe he just stopped taking BALCO products...
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

^
Yeah I agree, and also the fact that he decided to carry on even in those last few years when I barely won a match and only got into tournaments via wildcards given his name...all other great players retired at the point when they realised they couldn't seriously compete at the highest level, yet Chang refused and kept trying even though he got battered in the 1st round every week...

One of the questions is whether players like him today such as Hewitt would suffer the same fate?

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Old 04-06-2005, 08:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
Chang got the most out of his body. A huge inspirational overachiever.
Very true

I saw him at Rosmalen two years, when he was already slumping. He was something like an untouchable; one of the greats in tennis, despite his height and, at that time already, his results. He held his head high then and will remain doing so
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Old 04-06-2005, 08:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

I loved watching Michael play.
I wish he could've won one more slam!
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

Chang was never the same after tripping over a sprinkler and I believe breaking his foot. I also do remember his match against Rafter. When he lost his brother Carl who also is his coach just remained in his seat for like half an hour after everyone else left & just stayed there looking devastated.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

the game didnt suddenly get powerful in 4 months, it was because of injuries.

I liked watching him on clay
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Chang's decline...

I think Chang did the best he physically could and more.

He was 5'9". However, he was also quite big muscular-wise. That's why he didn't get injured as often as Coria does.

Chang wasn't competing against other sub-six athletes; he was duking it out against Sampras (6'1"), Becker (6'3"), Ivanisevic (6'4"), Krajicek (6'5"), and Rosset (6'7").

Chang never really had a power game to begin with; he built his game around his footwork / speed.

The fact that he's the youngest man ever to win a singles major title and was the first American in quite some time to hoist the Roland Garros trophy is still impressive.

The only shame was that he was NEVER number one in the ATP Computer.
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