SEOUL, October 25, 2015
Fernando Gonzalez won the inaugural Kia Motors Champions Trophy in Seoul on Sunday with a 7-6, 6-2 win over Michael Chang.
In a close first set, Gonzalez, a late replacement for the injured Andy Roddick, won the important points, and ultimately had a little too much power for Chang.
“Michael is a great fighter and I had to play really long points,” said Gonzalez. “He dominated in the beginning and was in control. I started to serve better and loosen up, and started to play much better. It’s been a great experience as I’ve never been to Korea before. I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Chang tipped his hat to Gonzalez, who found the answers when the American appeared to be in charge.
“We had a great match today,” he said. “I had my chances on a couple of set points on his serve and he came up with two massive serves. He played an unbelievable game to break me when I was serving for the first set, and from there his game started to pick up and he produced a lot of aces and big forehands. He hits those big forehands from every part of the court, and places it well with so much power behind it. It has been great to be here – I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to play in Korea, and it’s been great to bring my family here, and I hope there will be more tournaments here – both Champions Tour and ATP. The future of Korean tennis is really bright, especially with Hyung Cheung doing so well – I hope to be back soon.”
Asked about Kei Nishikori, who Chang coaches and is hoping to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next month, Chang said:
“It is a goal for the end of the year for any player to be playing in London. Kei was able to do that last year and he’s close to being able to return – we’re all set to go there. There are a couple of tournaments left and hopefully he’ll be able to finish on a high note – I hope he’ll be able to do as well, or even a little better in London this year. Physically he’s doing pretty good – this year has been better than last year ,which is really encouraging. Each year he will get better and better and that will allow him to go out there and play better tennis. We knew that the physical conditioning is going to take time to get right, but he’s heading in the right direction.
“There’s a lot of things we will be working on (in the off season) – the great thing about Kei is that he’s got to a career high of number 4 in the world but there are many things for him to improve upon. I have some things that I want us to continue to work on and hopefully we can do that in the off-season.”
After Seoul, the ATP Champions Tour moves on to Monterrey (Mexico), starting on Tuesday, then Verona and Modena (Italy) in November, before arriving in London (England) in December.