Chang challenges youthful foes
Michael Chang's most compelling challenge at this week's third annual Hilton Waikoloa Village USTA Challenger will be to keep up with the kids.
Chang, who turns 30 next month, is the oldest player in the Challenger, which begins this morning at the Kohala Tennis Garden. He is also the richest, having won nearly $19 million since turning pro in 1988. This is his first trip to Hawai'i. He arrived Thursday after playing in the Australian Open.
Chang was ranked No. 83 in the world at the end of last year. He headlines a field of current and former Top-100 players that promises the best men's tennis Hawai'i has seen since the Davis Cup came to the Big Island a decade ago.
Andy Roddick, No. 16 at the end of last year, will not defend his Waikoloa championship. But Paul Goldstein, who won the inaugural Waikoloa Challenger when he was 23, is back. He was ranked No. 140 at the end of 2001. The former Stanford player won the Lexington Challenger and reached the semifinals here last year.
Other Top 100 players in the singles main draw include Michael Russell (87) and James Blake (88).
Blake, 25, played No. 1 for Harvard. He was Roddick's Davis Cup teammate last year, when he reached ATP semifinals in Newport and Tokyo and won the Knoxville Challenger.
Russell, 23, is one of the quickest players on tour. He made an international breakthrough last year when he advanced to the fourth round of the French Open. Russell was up two sets and 5-3 in the third before falling to eventual champion Gustavo Kuerten.
Justin Gimelstob, Cecil Mamiit, Vince Spadea and John van Lottum, who have all been ranked in the Top 100, are also here, along with up-and-coming Americans Robby Ginepri and Jeff Morrison. Jan Frode Anderson and Vasilis Mazarakis, the best players in Norway and Greece, respectively, are also playing.
The singles final of the $50,000 event begins at 10 a.m. Sunday.