Turning pro at just 15 years of age, Michael Chang set numerous “youngest player records.” In 1987, he was the youngest player to win a main draw match at the U.S. Open and the youngest to reach a Tour semifinal. Becoming the youngest French Open / Grand Slam Champion ever in 1989, he then became the youngest to rank in the Top 5. Chang ended an American drought at the French Open, when he became the first American male to win the tournament since 1955. In 1991 he reached the quarterfinals or better in 13 tournaments. On the court, Michael’s real strength is his return game. Chang was considered one of the fastest players on the circuit, possessing an all-court game.
Michael’s testimony for Jesus Christ both on and off the court is quite evident. “I thank the Lord Jesus Christ,” he proclaimed in 1989 after becoming the youngest male to ever win the French Open, “because without Him, I am nothing.” Win or lose, he readily gives glory to the Lord, for it is the Lord who gave Michael the talent to play tennis. In this section, Michael responds to the reader’s questions and comments about Christianity.
I became a Christian in 1988. At 15 years of age, I was doing a lot of searching. I think at that particular age, at least for me, you’re wondering about things like the meaning of life and you’re really trying to find yourself. I just had a lot of questions. My grandparents had given me a Bible and they wanted me to read it everyday. On this one particular evening I didn’t have anything else to do so I decided to take a good look at my Bible and see what it had to say. I looked at the index in the back and found that it covered all these different subjects. So I looked up subjects like friendship and love and found the Bible to be very true, very pure, in a way in which I wanted to live my life. From then on I began reading about the Lord’s life and His love for all people. Eventually, I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.
How did God reveal Himself during tours?
I think there’s a confidence knowing that everything is in God’s hands. I saw so many things happening in my life and I knew that they weren’t mere coincidences. I know that the Lord loves me, that He looks out for me and that He will always be with me and walk with me. It just brought me a great deal of satisfaction and comfort to know that no matter what happened, He would always take care of me. I’ve also learned that the Lord only asks that you go and you give your best for Him. I think it’s very easy to get very frustrated sometimes. There are times when you go out, you try your best and for some people, it’s just not good enough. Yet, I feel that God had given me this wonderful talent to play tennis. I realize that I would not have been where I was in tennis without the Lord, without Him giving me the strength to be able to accomplish what I was able to accomplish. What’s nice is that, as long as my priorities were set and straight, I’d be able to go out with the mentality to really leave the winning and losing up to the Lord. You know, when you give your best, it’s all He asks of you, it’s all you can ask of yourself and it’s really all people can ask of you. I think that life is really too short to be so caught up in the things of the world. Just go out and give your best. To me that’s pretty simple.
I usually prayed with whoever was with me on the Tour, whether it was Carl and Diana, or my parents. We said a prayer before every match. We didn’t pray to win. We prayed that our priorities would be straight and that the Lord would shine through us and give us the strength and the peace to do His work and to do His will. We also prayed that our actions and our words would be used to glorify Him.
Michael Chang’s testimony is originally published here: http://www.mchang.com/mchang/christianity.html