Chang has no regrets

"It has been good. At times it has been a little bit emotional and it will probably get a little more so as the year progresses," says Michael Chang, who has decided to retire at the end of this season. — Pic. AP-

FORMER French Open champion Michael Chang, who announced that this would be his last season on the ATP Tour, said he has no regrets about his decision.

FORMER French Open champion Michael Chang, who announced that this would be his last season on the ATP Tour, said he has no regrets about his decision.

"It has been good," the 31-year-old American said. "At times it has been a little bit emotional and it will probably get a little more so as the year progresses."

Chang, who has 34 career singles titles and reached a career-high world number two, has not been at his best since suffering a knee injury four years ago.

"Regardless of how I do this year my decision is pretty set," Chang said. "I may go out and end up doing very well. After the U.S. Open is done for this year it will be a little bittersweet.

"But I will feel good about my decision and will definitely walk away from the tour without having regrets."

Since turning professional in 1988 Chang has won over $19 million in prize money and finished in the year-end top 10 seven times. But he lost in the first round of 13 tournaments last year.

Chang became the youngest Roland Garros champion ever in 1989 at 17 years, three months, when he won his only Grand Slam title following classic five-setters over Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg, but has not won a title since the summer of 2000.

Apart from his French Open title, his Grand Slam bests were runner-up in Roland Garros in 1995 and at both the 1996 Australian and U.S. Opens.

Chang is realistic enough to know that his best tennis is probably behind him, but he would still like to face some favourite foes once again.

"It would be great to be able to play Andre (Agassi) and Pete (Sampras) at least one more time through the year," said Chang.

"I played Andre in San Jose and the crowd was great. We had a packed house and it was electrifying.

"Pete you know, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe I will give him a call and we'll go play someplace in Bel Air."

Chang and Agassi are the only two players in ATP history to win singles titles in three different decades.