Tennis Great Michael Chang To Be Profiled In ESPN Films ’30 For 30′ Documentary ‘American Son’
EXCLUSIVE: Tennis great Michael Chang, who became the youngest winner of a major tournament singles championship when he beat Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open at age 17, will be the subject of a ’30 for 30′ documentary by ESPN Films.
While that win turned out to be Chang’s only major title, he appeared in three more major finals and left an enduring mark competing against a formidable group of American contemporaries like Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi. He had 34 wins on the ATP tour from 1988 to 2000 before retiring in 2003.
The film, titled American Son, has completed production. It is the directing debut of Jay Caspian Kang, a writer, podcaster and TV correspondent. Kang was a founding editor of Grantland, the now-defunct sports and pop culture digital brand launched by ESPN. He also contributed to Vice News Tonight during its run on HBO.
American Son will spotlight the immigrant experience of Chang’s family and will focus on his stunning upset of Lendl – a match that unfolded in the shadow of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China. Interviewees include Chang, Lendl, Roger Federer, Jeremy Lin and Brad Gilbert.
Along with ESPN, the film is produced by Words + Pictures, the production outfit founded in 2021 by former ESPN exec Connor Schell. Executive producers include Phil de Picciotto, Peter Nelson, Tom Ross and Kelly Wolf.
ESPN has deepened its commitment to the sport of tennis in recent years, including locking up “first-ball-to-last-ball” coverage of majors like the U.S. Open, which kicked off this week. The network drew an outsized rating for Serena Williams’ night match on Monday. Williams, who has won 23 major titles, has said she plans to retire.
The 30 for 30 franchise, which started in 2019, has focused on tennis in just one previous title: Unmatched, a 2010 look at the rivalry and friendship between Marina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
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