SHANGHAI, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Former French Open champion Michael Chang has been frustrated in his attempts to offer the benefit of his experience to China's Olympic tennis players.
The Chinese-American has been in his parents' homeland for six weeks and despite his best efforts only got to meet Sun Jingfang of the China Tennis Association (CTA) earlier this week.
"I feel a bit frustrated," Chang told reporters at the Masters Cup, adding that he was unimpressed with state media reports of his meeting with the CTA director.
"It made it sound like I was applying for a job ... If she's thinking that I was applying for a job, that's not the case," he said.
"My guess is that she has some reservations, she mentioned that I was obviously a good tennis player but didn't have any experience as a coach.
"I don't necessarily agree with her opinion on that."
Chang, who extended his trip to China to commentate on the season-ending tournament for a local TV station, thinks he is in a unique position to help the country's top players.
"I thought it would be a good thing to share some of my experiences on the tour with the players to help them get to the next level," said the former world number two, who retired in 2003 after 15 years as a professional.
"I had expressed my interest in the possibility of training with the Olympic team for 2008 but it's getting late now," he added.
"Clearly the women's team have the best chance of winning gold, they already have a doubles gold from the Athens Games, but in the singles they have good players like Li Na and Peng Shuai."
However good they are, Chang said, to win gold on home soil in 2008 they would have to beat the likes of Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo.
"This is where I think I can help," he said. "Li Na is capable of beating the best players in the world but you've got to play smart.
"I know they've got good coaches and they've done good things but I don't think they necessarily have the experience to take the players to the next level.
"The best players are the best players because they can handle the pressure of life on the tour."
Chang said he was not taking up an offer to go to the Jiangmen training camp because he needed to return to the U.S. for Thanksgiving.
"The Beijing Olympics are a once in a lifetime opportunity for China to show what it can do," said the 34-year-old, whose 106-year-old great grandmother still lives in Guangdong province.
"In my mind for them to win a gold medal, especially in tennis, would be a wonderful thing and that's why I want to help."