Chang vs. Lendl: 25 Years Later
I went to Roland Garros for a day and shot around the famous Paris stadium to get a bunch of broll for this interview with Michael Chang. In 1989, few people thought the 17-year-old American would beat the No. 1-ranked tennis player, Ivan Lendl in a tennis major. We met Chang in a bar/restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Paris and talked to him about the victory as well as what he has been doing with his life since then.
Chang continued to play for many years following and managed the number 2 ranking in US tennis, though he never won another major.
My favorite moment in the interview (and in the video I produced with Vijai Singh), is when Change describes the “unbelievable commitment of heart” he experienced when he was down by two sets with Lendl. He told us that he thought quitting at that moment would be ok, that he’d gone to the finals at the French Open, far exceeding his own expectations. But then he realized that if he did quit, it would be something he’d do again, and something he would then be known for, and that thought spurred him on despite intense leg cramps and diminishing energy, to push on and win.
Chang was a nice guy, open and garrulous. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008, and is now coaching Japanese tennis prodigy Kei Nishikori, who, I might add, was born the year Chang won the French Open.