Chang: Asian men need better coaching

Updated: November 25, 2009, 1:18 PM ET
Associated Press

HONG KONG -- Michael Chang says Asian men need better coaching to match the success of female players in professional tennis.

There are eight Asian women among the world's top 100 -- led by China's Li Na at No. 15. The highest-ranked Asian man is Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun at No. 96.

"That's what really seems to be the more difficult aspect -- to have the men break through and challenge the best players in the world," Chang said Wednesday in a conference call ahead of an exhibition in Hong Kong.

Chang, the 1989 French Open champion and former No. 2 player, said the disparity is due to coaching. He previously coached female player Peng Shuai, who is ranked 47th.

Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, Asia's most promising male player several years ago, has been sidelined with a wrist injury. He had reached a career-high No. 9 ranking, winning five singles titles.

China has yet to produce a top-flight male player.

"It's not that easy for some of these players in China to get the coaching they need," said Chang, a Chinese-American who grew up in Encinitas, Calif. "Nearly all of these Chinese girls that have had success have had coaching from foreign coaches.

"You can work really hard, but if you're not training in the right way you're not going to improve and get to the level that you want to."

Chang will play in the Hong Kong Tennis Classic, which starts Jan. 6. The exhibition tournament will mix retired male players and active female players.

Other stars in the field include Paradorn, Stefan Edberg, Marat Safin, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press