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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
Chang says farewell
Michael Chang
Chang turned professional when he was 15 years old
Michael Chang played his last competitive match as he lost to 15th seed Fernando Gonzalez in the first round at the US Open.

The American lost 6-3 7-5 5-7 6-4 to bring the curtain down on his career after 15 years.

And the day after Pete Sampras was given an emotional send-off at Flushing Meadows, Chang received a standing ovation in Arthur Ashe Stadium Court.

"Am I supposed to be able to explain my emotions?" Chang said afterwards.

"New York has been such a special place to me. This is the only tournament I was able to play 17 straight times in my career.

"I started my career here as a 15-year-old, and New York welcomed me. No doubt in part because I was born in Hoboken, New Jersey."

He's one of the gutsiest players who's ever played
John McEnroe on Chang
Chang was overpowered for much of his encounter with Gonzalez but rallied impressively in the third set, much to the New York crowd's delight.

The 1989 French Open champion recovered from 3-1 down, and produced one miraculous backhand that even had his opponent smiling as he unexpectedly took the set.

But Gonzalez regained his composure in the fourth to wrap up the match, leaving Chang to take the prolonged applause of a large crowd on the Stadium Court.

And Chang admitted his performance was not as important to him as enjoying the match.

"I think it was emotional for me," said Chang. "I think I try to keep my mind on other things in order to be able to keep my composure out there.

"I really think if you walk away from the tour feeling like 'I should have done that and should have done that' and you have regrets and don't walk away with a smile, something's not right."

Chang announced in January that the US Open would be his last event, and John McEnroe paid tribute to the 31-year-old, saying: "He's one of the gutsiest players who's ever played."



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