Chang diplomatic over Agassi comments


Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56

Agassi was critical of rivals like Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Boris Becker and Chang. In a section under the subject of tanking – a term for deliberately losing – Agassi said he lost on purpose to Chang in the semi-final of the 1996 Australian Open to avoid playing Becker in the final.

“It (tanking) is almost harder than winning,” he wrote. “You have to lose in such a way that the crowd can’t tell.”

The four-time Australian Open winner – who in the book revealed he had taken crystal meth during his playing career – also discussed his resentment over Chang’s habit of praising God following a victory whilst also claiming the latter’s 1989 French Open win “sickened” him.

“I first heard about it when I was in Seoul a couple of weeks ago. I had been watching the news and all of a sudden I was seeing some clips of my match against Andre,” Chang told Press Association Sport.

“Andre is obviously entitled to his own opinion, which he has obviously shared in his book on more occasions than one.

“In my experience when guys have tanked matches, sometimes what has happened is that they don’t necessarily go into a match thinking ‘I’m going to tank this match’.

“Sometimes what might happen is they start playing a match and realise it is going to be a tough day or the conditions are frustrating or that my style is frustrating for them, and because of that they might not think it is worth the effort.”

Conditions had been particularly tricky during that semi-final match 13 years ago and Agassi himself stated that he had struggled with the wind.

“That particular day when I played Andre in Melbourne the conditions were not easy, he had had a tough quarter-final match and I was playing very, very well,” added Chang. “At the end of the day you have still got to go out there and give your best and fight through it. For that particular day after the first set or so Andre realised it was going to be too much of an upward battle and decided it was not really worth it for him to put forward the effort.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.