Michael Chang was one of the tennis players who signed deals with endorsements. At just 17 years of age, the American won his maiden and only Grand Slam title at 1996 French Open and achieved a career-high ranking at No. 2. Speaking to NZZ on how he made the sports change in general, Chang said: 'The beginning and the mid-90s was a really good time, probably one of the best growths for endorsements.
There were a lot of shows added to the tournaments. Tennis reached its peak again with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Germany with Steffi Graf, Boris Becker or Michael Stich and some big tournaments.' Could we see a 17-year-old winning a Major again? 'Everything is possible.
But now it's much tougher because tennis came back such a physical sport, a 17-year-old doesn't have the body requires. At my time, there were already teenagers in the top 100 world rankings, now there are rare exceptions.'
The United States had a lot of legends like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Chang, who was the first one of the generation who won a Major. Does he feel like a pioneer? 'Also my win gave a lot of confidence to others.
We grew up playing against each other, each of us at our peak. I do not know if the United States will have such a generation. I think it was hard for Andy Roddick's generation to face those expectations.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title