Tennis: Rich Chang cashes in again: Sampras in business at Munich money dispenser

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The Independent Online
CHANG] Even the name is resonant of a cash register. An eyebrow-raising aspect of Michael Chang's dollars 2.7m ( pounds 1.8m) earnings from four visits to the Compaq Grand Slam Cup is that he has yet to win the thing. Another is that he intends to skip next month's Australian Open, the first Grand Slam championship of 1994.

The Grand Slam Cup is supposed to strengthen the world's four major championships - especially the Australian Open - by throwing dollars 6m prize-money at the male players who qualify for a Christmas bonus, having already shown up and achieved where it matters most: Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon and New York.

Chang added dollars 262,500 to his Munich haul yesterday by defeating Sydney's Wally Masur in the opening round. He then explained why his name was missing from the entry list for the Australian Open when he planned to play in an ATP Tour event in Indonesia the week before.

'I am playing in Jakarta to defend my title there,' the American said. 'Other than that, I would just like to have a little bit more time at home and celebrate Chistmas a little bit longer, because we have got quite a few relatives coming over. It's going to be a big Christian party with a lot of Bible study and singing a lot of prayer songs.'

Monica Seles is also missing from the Melbourne entry list, which was published yesterday, though a wild-card will be reserved for the stabbing victim in case she is able to make her long-awaited return in time to defend the last of her Grand Slam titles. Martina Navratilova, Jennifer Capriati and Boris Becker were also confirmed among the non- starters, but Andre Agassi promises to make his first appearance.

The compact Grand Slam Chang, who has accumulated a third of his career prize-money by reaching two finals and a semi-final at the Olympiahalle here, will play Pete Sampras, the Wimbledon and United States Open champion and world No 1, in the quarter- finals.

Sampras, who collected dollars 2m as the inaugural Grand Slam Cup winner in 1990, displayed impressive form yesterday in defeating the Austrian clay- court specialist, Thomas Muster, 6-3, 6-2, in an hour.

Michael Stich, the defending champion, is also on a bankroll. He swept away the American, MaliVai Washington, 6-3, 6-1, in 65 minutes, showing no sign of weariness after his recent triumphs in the ATP Tour Championship and the Davis Cup final.

There were traces of Sunday's clay from Dusseldorf on Stich's shoes when he stepped on the slick carpet court yesterday, yet he was able to adjust from the slow surface without a hitch. 'Mal didn't play a great match and made life easy for me,' he said. Mal, it seemed, scarcely had a look in.

The contrast between Stich's assured performance and Boris Becker's first-round defeat by the South African Wayne Ferreira the day before was stark. Stich had watched the 'key moments' of Becker's struggle. 'I really didn't care,' he said.

'For him, it would have been good to win, no question about it, to get some confidence. But I didn't think about him. I thought about myself playing my first round and trying to win.'

Stich is determined to enjoy the final week of the season. 'I don't feel any pressure at all,' he said. 'I don't think that anybody is expecting me to win this tournament, especially after the last two events.' Except, perhaps, for a few million Germans.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 43

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