The tour grind shows on Chang

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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San Francisco:Michael Chang's childhood rivals Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras are still winning Grand Slam tournaments late in their careers. But Chang hasn't won a major since capturing the attention of the tennis world with his 1989 French Open victory at age 17 - a big reason why he's decided to retire following this season, his 16th on the ATP circuit. His final event will be this year's US Open. Chang kicks off his farewell tour in the Siebel Open starting February 10 in San Jose, California, and he spoke about the decision to retire for the first time on Friday. "It's been a great ride, and I still have the last part of the ride to go, and that's something I'm very excited about,'' said Chang, speaking from his home in Mercer Island, Washington. Chang said his inability to maintain a high level on the court led to his decision. Plus, playing 15 years on the pro tour has taken its toll on him. But the 30-year-old isn't ruling out winning another Grand Slam before he's done. "If it's going to happen, it's going to be something miraculous," he said. "If it doesn't happen, I can walk away with no regrets". Chang said he gave retirement plenty of thought - noting he's not one to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. When he's done with tennis, he plans to dedicate more time to the Chang Family Foundation, a Christian outreach organization, and possibly take some seminary classes. Becoming the youngest to win in Paris in his second year on the tour is still a highlight for Chang, who has won 34 singles titles and earned just more than $19 million in prize money. Chang's Grand Slam record is 120-54. He became the youngest male to win a US Open match at the age of 15 years and six months in 1987 as an amateur. He turned pro the following year. Chang helped the United States win for the first time in eight years in the Davis Cup finals in 1990, and represented the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. But the demands of tennis haven't been easy for Chang in recent years, he said. While he is happy to see the men he grew up with keep on winning, he wishes he could have had similar success. (AP)

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