Tantrum launches racket out of stadium at ITC
By MARCUS NELSON
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2008
DELRAY BEACH — The rain stopped early enough Wednesday for top-seeded James Blake finally to win his first-round match at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.
Then it was a tennis racket falling from the sky outside the stadium that was a sign this tournament was back on track. Another heralded player was bounced out in the first round, this time after a spectacular collapse.
In the match after Blake defeated Robert Kendrick 7-5, 7-5 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, upstart Donald Young led Amer Delic 5-0 in the first set and appeared on his way to an easy victory.
But perhaps inspired by the wicked weather that forced postponements of most matches Tuesday and again Wednesday, Delic came storming back.
Delic saved six set points and rallied all the way back to win the first set by winning the tiebreaker 9-7, prompting Young, an 18-year-old from Atlanta who is considered to be one of tennis' future stars, to turn around and throw his racket out of the stadium in disgust. The toss cleared about 20 rows of seats
"I was very frustrated, and I tried to hold the emotions in," said a contrite Young, who is ranked No. 95 in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100.
"It didn't work."
His backup equipment must not have been much better. Delic coasted in the second set to win the match 7-6 (9), 6-3.
"It's hard to get yourself back into it," said Young, who advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open last year. "You try to get pumped up again, but it creeps into your mind. Everybody gets frustrated. It's just a matter of how you deal with it."
The throwing of the racket could possibly lead the Association of Tennis Professionals - the sanctioning body for the men's tour - to fine Young.
"The actions by Donald Young at the end of the first set of Wednesday's match were dangerous and inappropriate," ATP supervisor Mark Darby said. "The chair umpire correctly handled the situation by issuing a code violation warning to Donald. The incident will be reviewed and additional disciplinary action is possible."
After seeing No. 2 seed Tommy Haas and defending champion Xavier Malisse lose on Monday, Blake was ready to get into the second round. He disposed Kendrick in a match suspended Tuesday because of rain with Blake leading 3-2. Blake won the first set 7-5. Leading 6-5 in the second, broke Kendrick's serve to win the second set 7-5 as well.
"Just to get through my first round, I feel good and we'll see what happened the rest of the week," Blake said.
All second-round matches, including ones scheduled for Wednesday, were moved to today as ATP officials decided to make sure the first-round was finished before the second round began.
Blake will face Paul Capdeville of Chile in his second-round match at 7 p.m. today on the stadium court.
In another match which started on Tuesday and wasn't finished until Wednesday afternoon, Boca Raton's Vince Spadea, the No. 6 seed, defeated Germany's Denis Gremelmayr 6-3, 6-4.
Defeating Young was a bit of revenge for Delic, who was the first player to lose to Young on the ATP Tour when Young beat him at the Pilot Pen tournament last year in New Haven, Conn.
"He did unravel really bad," said Delic, who had to qualify to get into the main draw. "It's tough because a match like this is going to stick in his head."
Quite a toss actually. Ive been in and played in the stadium where the tournament is, and to chuck a racket out of there is quite impressive