Jackie Finn | May 30, 2017
May is Asian Pacific-American Heritage Month. To celebrate, USTA.com is taking a look at Asian-Americans past, present and future – those who have helped to shape the game, and those who could soon cement their place in it.
Here’s a closer look at the legendary Michael Chang:
- Chang embodied the mantra of “age is just a number” during his early years on tour. He first rose to attention as an outstanding junior player who claimed his first national title at the USTA Junior Hard Courts at the age of 12. One year later he won the Fiesta Bowl 16s.
- At age 15, Chang captured both the 1987 Boys’ 18s Hard Courts and Boys’ 18s Nationals. The Boys’ Nationals title earned him a wild card into the US Open, where he became the youngest player to a win a main draw match, defeating Paul NcNamee in four sets in the first round.
- Although Chang had significant success as a junior player, he is most well-known for becoming the youngest player to capture the French Open title, in 1989 at the age of 17 years and 110 days. A cramping Chang famously bested Ivan Lendl in the fourth round, and in the final, the American defeated six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
- Throughout his career on tour, the Hoboken, N.J., native, born to Taiwanese parents, established himself as one of the best tennis players in the world. In addition to his Roland Garros title, Chang reached the final of both the Australian Open and US Open in 1996, and he played a significant role in the U.S.’s 1990 Davis Cup victory. Over his 16-year career, Chang won a total of 34 singles titles and reached a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world. He was also a year-end Top 10 player for six consecutive years (1992-97).
- Chang officially retired from the tour in 2003 but has not left the game of tennis behind. Starting in 2014, Chang has served as the head coach of current Japanese star Kei Nishikori. Under Chang’s guidance, Nishikori has won eight ATP Tour titles, cracked the Top 10 and reached the final of the US Open.