The men's team is expected to include John Isner (10th in the ATP Tour rankings), Andy Roddick (32nd), and two first-time Olympians, Donald Young (48th) and Ryan Harrison (52nd). Mardy Fish, the silver medalist in 2004, is ranked 12th but has said he'll skip the Olympics.
Young's poor run continues (http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2012-06-25/201206251340654987535.html)
It has been a disappointing year for highly-rated American Donald Young and his miserable losing sequence was extended to 11 matches when he was beaten by birthday boy Mikhail Youzhny, the No. 26 seed, in four sets.
But the 22-year-old Young looked like he would end his disastrous form in 2012 when he raced to a 6-4, 3-1 lead early on. Both men had difficulty on their serves early on but Youzhny rediscovered his weapon as poor Young’s game fell apart, losing seven games on the spin. The Russian, who has made the second week on six previous occasions, eventually won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, to start the celebrations on the day of his 30h birthday.
Youzhny’s win was hardly a piece of cake but he safely saw a passage into the second round unlike his fellow seed Marcel Granollers. The Spanish No. 24 seed was beaten 7-5, 7-6(5), 3-6, 2-6, 8-6 in a four hour 20 minute duel on Court 14.
08-14-2012, 10:52 PM
Donald is Young—but subtly growing old (http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/thespin.aspx?articleid=19176&zoneid=32)
The 2012 ATP season became a decrescendo and then an all-out nosedive for Donald Young, the relatively diminutive but crafty southpaw from Atlanta. He had a sterling 2011 campaign by his standards, ducking into the Top 30 in the world, beating Andy Murray at Indian Wells, upsetting Stanislas Wawrinka in the U.S. Open, reaching his first ATP final and signing on with USTA coaching.
Then came the flood. A deluge of errors, but also a return to the primitive normalcy of his parents' tutelage and scope. Young is in the midst of a precipitous slide at present, with 17 straight ATP-level match losses. It's four short of Vince Spadea's record mark for futility, and it's not abating anytime soon, as evidenced by his 6-4, 7-6 defeat to qualifier Jesse Levine in the first round of Cincinnati's Western & Southern Open on Moday.
And yet, stories like Young's are many. Indianapolis-based phenom Brooke Austin, 16 years old and winner of many junior championships and the national girls' under-18 championship in March, a month after turning 16 and more than four months after suffering stress fractures in her foot, has opted out of turning pro in favor of playing college tennis. It's not necessarily a damning move for a potential future pro career but also not an inspiring choice. And the accounts of more previous phenoms, some saddled with the weight of entire nations or families (Jelena Dokic, Mirjana Lucic, dozens more), pour in year after year.
Young should take heart. He's come close in a few desultory three-set losses to notching that coveted victory, the one that will have him cocking his cap to the side with the familiar bravado again, with confidence that is true and even desirable from him, whether one is a fan of his game and his personality or not. He just brought on Roger Smith, who formerly worked with another young American shining star, Sloane Stephens, to assist his parents with his ongoing development.
Maybe New York City will be Don Young's saving grace, as it has been before. Maybe that's his oasis. Time will tell, and time is short.
Donald Young, who has only won one match on the ATP tour this season, believes he is on the way back up the rankings. The American, who cracked the Top 40 in the fall of 2011 before his ranking dropped to No. 202 in February, is currently ranked No. 154.
Last year, Young endured a 17 match-losing streak, but this season has won a Challenger in Mexico and reached the quarterfinal of the Winnetka Challenger last week.
“Confidence for sure, that was a problem,” the 23-year-old told Pressconnects.com after his 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Binghamton Challenger yesterday. “I had some wrist and back problems, but it’s a part of tennis so you have to keep going. I will definitely be back. It will take time, you can’t reverse a whole year in a couple of months, it’s going to take some time. You just go week to week, and try to keep getting better.”
NEW YORK -- There is nothing quite as American as the U.S. Open. The bright lights, the larger-than-necessary stadium, the influx of celebrities, the crowded grounds, and the non-stop excitement and drama are, for better and for worse, a microcosm of our over-the-top, go-big-or-go-home culture.
But there's one place that you won't find any remnants of America: the top of the men's draw.
Though the state of things has been in decline for a while, there have been a lot of terrible "firsts" for American men in 2013. At Wimbledon, no American man made the third round for the first time since 1912. Earlier this month, for one week, all of the American men dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since the rankings system was invented 40 years ago.
And now, as the eyes of the nation focus in on tennis for the fortnight, they will see that there are no American men seeded in the top 10 at the U.S. Open for the first time ever. In fact, there are only two Americans seeded at all, No. 13 John Isner and No. 26 Sam Querrey, and there are only four other Americans ranked in the top 100, all of them ranked 87 or higher. Two of those guys, James Blake and Michael Russell, are in the twilight (or beyond) of their careers.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Andy Roddick's U.S. Open victory, which was also the last time an American won any Grand Slam. Looking on the horizon, it's hard to see another American male winning one in the next 10 years.
There's a possibility that things will have to get worse before they get better.
That is an alarming thought for a nation that bred such greats in back-to-back generations as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi.
And considering the U.S. Open is the largest tennis tournament in the world, and garners around $200 million for the United States Tennis Association, approximately 15% of which goes to the Player Development Program, it raises a lot of questions.
In late 2008, the USTA Player Development Program, which has been around for over 20 years, doubled their budget and completely overhauled their staff. Along with bringing Patrick McEnroe on board as the general manager of player development, they hired Jose Higueras, one of the most successful tennis coaches in the history of the sport, as the director of coaching.
Higueras has worked with some of the greatest players in the history of the sport, including Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer.
The USTA -- and the Player Development Program in particular -- has been widely criticized throughout the years by players and media alike, most notably and recently by Wayne Bryan, the father of the No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan.
As I watched the American men attempt -- and mostly fail -- to qualify for the U.S. Open last week, I went to Higueras for a response to these critiques, hoping for answers or, at the very least, explanations.
"To me, that's one of the things that's a little disappointing, is how many people dislike the USTA," Higueras said. "I ask some players, 'Why do you hate the USTA?' Guess what? Most of them don't have an answer."
"There's some misconceptions with how much money Player Development gets," he said. "They say, 'Oh, you guys get $17 million.' Yes, but we have five divisions, we have three National Tennis Centers that we pay all the expenses for. [We pay for] the junior competitions, for talent I.D., for coaches and education. We have 54 people on staff. A very small portion of that goes to the players."
"We have 20 national coaches for the United States, 10 men and 10 women. France has 64, and France is the size of California. There are huge challenges."
Still, Higueras revels in the unenviable task, and he feels like the program is moving in the right direction. "I think we're helping so many players. It just takes time," he said. "When I started this job it was below ground. We're still pretty much just scrapping to get above ground, but we'll get there."
Brad Gilbert, the coach and ESPN commentator who began working with the USTA this summer as a coaching consultant, echoed that sentiment.
"The USTA is doing a lot more. They have a lot more of their coaching, they have a full-time facility down in Boca," he told me as he waited in the stands to watch 16-year-old American Jared Donaldson play in the final round of the qualification tournament.
"I'm hopeful that something good will happen."
* * *
Donald Young, 24, used to be considered the future of American tennis. As the legend goes, John McEnroe discovered his talent during a hitting session when Young was only 10 years ago, and demanded that IMG sign him immediately.
As swiftly as he was pronounced the future, he became a cautionary tale, an example of what happens when a kid gets too much too soon.
He reached No. 1 in the junior rankings when he was just 15, and around the same time, he began receiving wild cards into ATP events. For years, the wild cards flew in, but Young had little to show for it. He lost his first 10 ATP main draw matches, and didn't enter an ATP tournament on the strength of his own ranking until three years later.
These days, the former wild card can go by another name, one that comes with a little more pride: qualifier.
Of the 16 American men who entered the U.S. Open qualification tournament, he was the only one still standing after three rounds. His reward is a well-earned spot in the main draw of the 2013 U.S. Open, where he'll face No. 46-ranked Martin Klizan in the first round.
The qualifying tournament is a 128-man-duel to earn 16 vacant spots in the main draw. Held the week before the main event, the U.S. Open qualifying tournament, or "quallies" as it is colloquially known, is a free-to-the-public extravaganza held at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
As the players, primarily ranked between No. 100 and No. 200, compete for a spot that could change the course of their careers, it's made pretty clear that they are a step below an opening act. The focus on the grounds is getting ready for the main draw. During their matches the DJ tests music choices on the loudspeakers, the stars practice and fine-tune their games on the show courts, and the television booths are constructed.
"When we get here, we're kind-of the test bunnies," Young said. "It's little things, like when you get here, the towels aren't washed, so the fuzz gets all over your body and your face."
"They're washed by the time the main-draw guys get here."
Quallies is a far cry from a night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Young electrifyingly took James Blake to five sets back in 2008, but he didn't let a little fuzz get in his way. He took out all three opponents in his path in straight sets, and looked fit and focused doing so, showing glimpses of the versatility and touch that caught McEnroe's eye so many years ago.
"I feel good," he said after his victory on Friday. "I'm just happy to get through, play well for three rounds, and qualify for the show."
Young is soft-spoken and nice, yet understandably distant. Though he's an adult now, he was a product long before he was a fully-fledged person.
Through his career, Young has had a tumultuous relationship with the USTA. His parents, Donald Sr. & Illona, are his coaches, and though the USTA has given Young a lot of support, they have also tried to get him to branch out and accept coaching help from others.
His most successful year to date was 2011, when he made the semifinals of the Legg Mason tournament in Washington, D.C., the fourth round of the U.S. Open, the final of the event in Bangkok, Thailand, and saw his ranking climb as high as No. 38 in the world. During most of this period, he was working with the USTA.
However, at the end of that season he decided to split ways.
Since the start of 2012, Young has been back with his parents. In that time, he's suffered a 17-match losing skid, the third-longest in the history of the ATP, and seen his ranking plummet to No. 156.
On Friday, he said that he was comfortable working with his parents. "It's going good. It's what I'm used to."
Young said this decision to leave the USTA in 2011 boiled down to a "difference of opinion," but that his relationship with them these days is "kosher."
"I've known Donald for a long time. It's kind of a long story," Higueras said. "He's had some good success. Sometimes he has a hard time keeping that success going. I think he's a talented kid. He's like any other professional athlete; I think he just needs to get into the right situation. I'm not saying he's not in the right situation, but I'm just saying as a whole, it's a very competitive business, and you cannot give an advantage to anybody."
For now, the man who used to seem like a sure-fire bet to win Grand Slams and take over the mantle of American tennis is just happy to make it through the qualifying tournament.
"I'm working hard. It might not be the way other people think I should be able to do it, but I'm doing what I feel is right," he said. "I want to do well, just like everyone else."
* * *
Higueras' main goal is to improve the culture of complacency in American tennis. "If you want something, you have to work for it," he said. "Otherwise your chances are zero."
He acknowledges that there are a couple of generations of Americans who were lost in the shuffle. Many of the top American juniors in the past decade were swayed by contracts to turn pro early, but didn't have the work ethic to back up the success. When he first joined the USTA, he came across kids who thought that just an hour of practice a day was enough, and that their talent would do the rest. Many didn't realize what a grind the tour was, and how hard they actually had to work to be successful. It wasn't guaranteed just because of their passport.
"The culture has to be there. You only get something for something. If you want to be successful, you have to do what everyone that is successful does," he said. "You watch Roger Federer play, for example. He always plays like he's just having a drink, but don't get fooled by that, there's a lot of work beyond that. He didn't get to where he was by just being talented."
Higueras is passionate about the importance of hard work, which is why he enjoys the qualification tournament so much -- players have to earn their spot.
"If it was up to me, there would be no wild cards. Wild cards create entitlement for the kids. I think you should be in the draw if you actually are good enough to get in the draw," he said. "I think one of the things that hurt Donald when he was young [was that] he got so many wild cards. They don't make you a player."
As Higueras focuses on changing the mindset of our youth and expanding powers of the USTA Player Development Program, he's realistic about the prospects of directly creating the next Sampras or McEnroe. "You can put together a system where you have some good players, but the special players are going to come on their own. That's just how it works."
"I don't care. I just want people with an American passport to be good. I can care less if they work with us, or they don't work with us, or how much we help them or not."
Still, he points out that the USTA got Mardy Fish into the top 10 a few years ago, Sam Querrey into the top 20, and in the past year Denis Kudla, Jack Sock, and Steve Johnson have gotten into the top 100. The women working with the USTA have had even more success, which Higueras attributes to a better pool of athletes on the women's side, due to fewer professional options for female athletes.
But make no mistake about it, right now the United States is lagging way behind countries like Spain and France when it comes to tennis player development, and though there is work being done by Higueras and others, the gap seems to be widening every year. It may take another generation, if not more, to notice any culture changes.
"I mean, the game is incredibly global," Gilbert said. "There's no birthright that we have to have great players, we just always have. We always expect them."
Perhaps, for the time being at least, it's time for us to lower our expectations, even if it does feel a little un-American.
In a way, it was only fitting that the second-round Australian Open match between Donald Young and Andreas Seppi was suspended at two sets apiece. Thanks to the invocation of the Extreme Heat Policy, the metaphorical “to be continued” sign was hung on the umpire’s chair.
Isn’t “to be continued” also the story of Young’s life?
Young has been with us a long time, this stand-offish, baffling, talented but disadvantaged junior champion whose person and game suggest nothing more powerfully than theories of arrested development. It seems like Young was never really a kid, yet he never really seemed to become an adult.
Is it because of his protective parents? A dazzling junior’s game that never developed the requisite degree of adult menace? A history so rich and long (can you even estimate how many tennis balls this 24-going-on-40 kid has hit?) that in the end it all runs together, Grand Slams and forehands and small towns and courtesy cars and drop shots and room-service menus and the Guadalajara Challenger.
Young hasn’t helped his own identity coalesce, partly because he’s always seemed bewildered by what might be called the “public” dimensions of his life as a remarkable prodigy and aspiring pro, and partly because of wildly fluctuating results that alternately suggest that he’s simply an outgunned, perpetual boy lost in a man’s world.
Still the youngest man to have been the No. 1-ranked junior (he achieved the honor at 16 years and five months) Young has been ranked as high as No. 38, and as low as No. 190—and that was just in a 10-month span in 2012. At this moment, Young is ranked No. 91 but, really, he could be No. 234 or No. 52. He’s not merely a journeyman, he’s a guy with a heck of a long commute. When he feels a little road rage, he can be explosive and dangerous—as Stanislas Wawrinka discovered in the second round of the 2011 U.S. Open, when Young took him to 7-6 in the fifth set before capitulating.
For pundits and analysts who pride themselves on their understanding of the game, Young also is the problem child of men’s tennis: A riddle, a perpetual enigma who can’t easily be explained or pigeonholed.
Over four sets on Day 4, Young again demonstrated why all this is so. Yet if you haven’t watched him recently, you might have been surprised by how much this once rail-thin youth has filled out, how different he looks from even 12 or 18 months ago. Young’s tennis kicks once looked as disproportionately large as clown shoes; his legs were thin, but now they’re sturdy. His chest and arms tell of serious work in the gym, countering one of the long-standing complaints that Young just doesn’t work hard enough, either on or off the court, to keep pace in today’s game.
He and Seppi, the No. 24 seed and a crafty, elastic 29-year-old veteran who knows how to goad opponents into beating themselves, went at it hammer-and-tong through the first four games, each man fending off three break points in the second pair of back-to-back games.
Seppi is a native of Bolzano, high in the Italian Alps. Tennis Channel commentator Jeff Tarango surmised that, as Seppi had spent nine months in the womb at significant altitude, the experience “had to rub off on his circulatory system.” Tarango was speculating on the advantage Seppi might have under the brutally hot conditions, but his lean, 6’3” frame, long arms, and efficient movement might have been an even more potent asset.
Once again, it looked like Young, who judges himself six feet tall (which seems like a stretch, if you know what I mean), was up against a player of a different weight class. But that turned out not to be the case. And that’s what made watching Young different from so many other viewings.
These close five-set matches usually contain significant momentum shifts that aren’t as easily explained as those in typical three-setters, where the swings tend to break down neatly by set, or in which there is room for only one sea change. In these long-form matches, the games between, say, 4-all in one set and 3-2 in the next can be no less important than the hard-and-fast set tally.
In this one, Seppi had to serve to stay in the first set at 4-5. He was unable to pull it off, as Young mounted a furious charge for the decisive break. The American’s willingness to attack and his ability to stay in rallies were useful assets. He also hit enough blazing winners from the backcourt and enough sharp volleys to alert Seppi that he wouldn’t be able to just push the ball around and wait for Young to make an error.
Young was unable to hold to start the second set, but he tightened his game up and broke right back. Then the momentum shifted dramatically. Seppi broke again and continued to play like a man re-born. He reeled off a hold and a break and soon had the equalizing set, 6-2.
Young averted two break points and stopped the bleeding in the first game of the third set, and his patience and consistency paid off when he finally broke Seppi for 5-3, then served out the set. Young has been much better known for his mercurial, flashy game than for his diligence, but it was the latter quality that enabled him to keep pace in this one.
It was the second significant momentum shift of the match, and this one left Young in command all the way into the middle of the fourth set. By the time Young served with a break lead at 3-2, Seppi looked fried and ready to fold.
Young started that critical sixth game with a double fault—his 13th on a day when his serve was surprisingly useful in spite of those doubles. But then he found a way to shank three different forehands into the ether in a stunning display of forfeiture.
Young certainly had good reason to be tired, yet the swift way the tables were turned was disconcerting. Worse yet, Seppi fell behind 0-40 while serving at 4-all, but he managed to dodge the bullets thanks partly to two critical backhand errors by Young. Escaping with that game seemed to inspire Seppi to break to seal the fourth set.
Once again, it was impossible to predict if Young was going to triumph or crash and burn. I wouldn’t read too much into whatever happens. Young’s greatest talent may be his ability to complicate what might be simple; his propensity for turning matches into roller-coaster rides. It’s a lifelong habit now. At the same time, he seems to have more game than ever before—greater heft, penetration, and sting on his shots. Is it possible that he’s still a work in progress?
While most of Young’s fans in his home base of Atlanta slept, Seppi and Young returned to the court after a long delay. This time, there was no more time to defer, no more "let's keep an open mind about this." Young put the finishing touches on one of the best matches he's played to win out, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. To be continued...
Almost out of nowhere, Donald Young is into the third round at a Grand Slam event.
The one-time American prodigy achieved his best result at the Australian Open with victory over 24th seed Andreas Seppi on a brutally hot Thursday at Melbourne Park, his 6-4 2-6 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory sending him beyond the second round of a major for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Arguably, it was that very sapping heat that kept him alive – after dropping the fourth set despite holding a match-winning lead, the tournament’s Extreme Heat Policy was enacted, suspending play for more than three hours and allowing Young to cool down, regroup, and return energised for the fifth.
Young, an Australian Open junior winner and youngest-ever year-end junior No.1, reached the fourth round of the US Open in 2011 and finished that year inside the top 40, appearing poised to make good on his highly-regarded talent.
What followed was a season that even the most resilient of pros would want to banish permanently from the memory bank. He went 5-24 in 2012, a record that included a 17-match losing streak spanning six months. Although he sneaked back inside the top 100 late in 2013 after success at Challenger events, wins at tour-level remained elusive.
With the victory, Young progresses to a third-round meeting with No.16 seed Kei Nishikori after holding his increasingly shaky nerve to see off the challenge of the gritty Seppi.
The American was the early aggressor, threatening to gain the first break of the match in the fourth game before Seppi served his way out of trouble.
Ceaselessly attacking, Young advanced on the net 16 times in the opening stanza. Whenever passed or after erring, negative body language ensued, but he kept his composure well enough and was finally rewarded for the chances he kept creating, breaking serve on his third set point to take an early lead.
Seppi showed a remarkable ability to bounce back from such a setback in trying conditions.
He broke serve in the very next game, his steadiness and consistency wearing on the increasingly impatient and despondent Young. Soon down 5-2 and 30-0, the 24-year-old attempted a drop shot off a return which didn’t even reach the net, and watched as an ace flew by that helped Seppi level at a set apiece.
Young opened the third set with a double fault and an error, and shortly after produced his 10th double fault for the match, yet he somehow refocused and settled.
The set progressed on serve until the eighth game, when Seppi lost all concentration to dish up a double fault and two backhand errors. It proved a costly lapse – Young broke serve to lead 5-3, and later smashed an overhead winner to pocket the third.
One audible obscenity warning and several errors later, Seppi was soon down 3-1, his Australian Open 2014 campaign just a few games away from ending.
But Young gave him a lifeline. Visibly tightening in the sixth game, the American shanked three forehands well out to eventually surrender his serve, and although he steadied and reached 0-40 at 4-4, he again collapsed into errors and allowed Seppi to hold.
A missed volley and a forehand error in the next game handed the Italian the break, and the fourth set.
Games followed serve in the fifth when the men returned to court after 6pm until Seppi made a mess of the ninth game, double-faulting three times in a row to hand Young the break.
What followed was a study in sports psychology – the American couldn’t find the court when serving for the match, dishing up four straight errors to hand the break straight back to his opponent.
But Young’s desperate retrieving on break point in the 11th game elicited a surprise error from the Italian, and when presented with another chance to serve for the match, Young played far more positively, belting a forehand winner up the line for match point, and celebrating wildly when Seppi pushed a final backhand wide.
01-16-2014, 02:59 PM
DONALD YOUNG HOPING FOR TURNAROUND AT AUSSIE OPEN
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Big things were once predicted for Donald Young, the former tennis prodigy who turned pro at 14, had a Nike contract at 15 and played in his first U.S. Open at 16.
Young's star, however, has never really taken off. And though there have certainly been more lows than highs for him over the years, none could have been more devastating than the streak.
A week before hitting his career-high ranking of 38 in February 2012, Young lost a match to John Isner in San Jose. Then he lost to Ryan Sweeting at Delray Beach, Steve Darcis at Indian Wells and David Goffin at the Sony Open.
Young didn't win again until August, a streak of 17 consecutive losses that sent his ranking - and confidence - plummeting.
But in a sign of a possible turnaround for the 24-year-old American, Young reached the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over 24th-seeded Andreas Seppi on Thursday. He now has won more ATP-level matches so far this year than he did in all of 2013.
"I happen to be back playing well and hopefully I can keep improving and stay here at this level," he said. "This is where I want to be."
He next faces No. 16-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan for a spot in the fourth round, which would equal his run at the 2011 U.S. Open, his best Grand Slam result.
That tournament was Young's much-delayed coming out, when he finally looked to be fulfilling his long-hyped potential. He rallied from 1-4 down in the fifth set to shock then No. 14-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round before dispatching Juan Ignacio Chela in the third.
Weeks later he reached his first ATP final in Bangkok and cracked the top 50.
His confidence was high - and then came the remarkable slide.
"After the first couple losses, I didn't feel too far off. But as the numbers steadily grew from 12 to 13 to 14..." he recalled, trailing off as he listed the defeats.
The only way back after dropping out of the top 200 was to play on the Challenger circuit. He entered tournaments in Winnetka, Illinois; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Binghamton, New York. By the autumn, he had achieved a streak of a different sort - he won 12 straight matches and two tournaments in California.
Being away from the limelight also helped him reflect.
"You grow up, you want to be a pro, you want to be No. 1," he said. "And then when you get out there, you realize how tough it is, you debate sometimes if you want to do it or not.
"But at the end of the day, it's my job, it's what I want to do. I love playing tennis."
His win Thursday not only got him into the third round at Melbourne Park - it gave him revenge. One of the players who beat him during his losing streak was Seppi.
01-17-2014, 09:52 PM
Q&A: Donald Young's Return to Form http://www.tennisviewmag.com/tennis-view-magazine/article/qa-donald-youngs-return-form
By Romi Cvitkovic
Touted as a promising star when he won the Junior Australian Open at age 15 to ascend to world No. 1, Donald Young then went on to climb into the ATP top 40 in world rankings. He defeated top 5 players Andy Murray and Gael Monfils in 2 011, as well as reached the fourth round of the US Open. But the growth was put on hold as Young went through a 17-match losing streak in 2 012. Now, with a strong winning percentage this past fall and back-to-back Challenger titles, Young has climbed to a ranking of 100 and looks to best his career-high in the new year.
Romi Cvitkovic: What has made the difference in your recent resurgence?
Donald Young: It was just time. My [2 012] season wasn’t good; I won five matches in singles altogether. I knew it couldn’t get worse from there. So, I just worked hard in the off-season, focusing on a few mental things and started winning again.
Was there anything in your game that you tweaked?
No, I had been playing well before, so it was more mental. You lose a lot of confidence when you lose a lot of matches in a row.
How did you overcome the losing streak?
It was rough, but I was playing tournaments at the highest level: six were on clay and three of those were Masters series. I hadn’t played on clay that much, and I was also playing guys top 15, top 20 in the first round. But to get out of it, you don’t think about winning or losing. You just focus on smaller aims.
Is mom Illona still your long-time coach?
She is. And we’re looking for someone to maybe travel the road more to help out in 2 014.
You seem more poised and in control on court. Is that something you’ve been working on?
Definitely. You see a lot of the top guys very stoic on court, but they also know how to relax and get in the zone. So that’s something I’ve been working on.
What do you feel you need to do to best your previous career-high of No. 38?
Get physically stronger, mentally stronger. The top guys compete well for long periods of time, and that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to do it for a tournament or two, but the whole year.
What are your goals for 2 014?
I want to continue to get better and hopefully push back into the top 50. Also, I’ve been to a final [lost to Andy Murray, Bangkok in 2 011], so I’m looking to win my first Tour title. The rest, I want to see how it goes. I want to take small steps.
02-01-2014, 04:38 PM
Murray races through first Davis Cup rubber to give Great Britain lead over USA
DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND:GREAT BRITAIN v U.S.A. Transcript
Donald Young http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=95919
08-04-2014, 06:59 PM
BUY Donald Young
He reached his first ATP semifinal in three years in Washington, D. C., and the American who has always been on the cusp of being a solid competitor, only to see his ranking slip repeatedly, will have a chance to surprise some more fans at the Rogers Cup. He is likely to get a stiff test with Grigor Dimitrov as his round 2 opponent, but Dimitrov has been ill and hasn’t played a tournament in a while. Perhaps a fit and motivated Young will be able to conjure up some magic to grab the upset. He has an outside chance at the quarterfinals if he can achieve a breakthrough. (http://www.tennisviewmag.com/tennis-view-magazine/article/stock-watch-atp-stars-rising-falling-toronto)
08-06-2014, 07:41 AM
Dimitrov is a tough one and of course a huge one for Donald
GO GO GO and get this big one down
02-21-2015, 05:40 PM
Donald Young: "I Feel My Time Will Come" : http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2015/02/7/Tecnifibre-How-We-Got-Here-Young.aspx
Rewind some 3,367 days to discover the beginning of this narrative.
It was Feb. 8, 2005, and a young American phenom was making his much-anticipated debut on the ATP Tour. That day, 15-year-old Donald Young took the court in his opening-round match against another Yank, Robby Ginepri. It didn't last long. Fifty minutes later, the thrashing was over. Ginepri beat Young 6-2, 6-2 at the San Jose Open.
But the prospect of a future superstar was very much a centerpiece in our tennis discourse at the time. After all, Young was the world's top-ranked junior and the youngest to earn that honor. Young, a former Orange Bowl and Easter Bowl winner, not to mention a one-time Aussie Open and Wimbledon junior champ, was a rare sparkling prospect, especially for a nation that had lost some of its momentum in churning out such talent.
[+] EnlargeDonald Young
AP Photo/Alan DiazDonald Young has a new perspective and attitude on his game, as evidenced by his results the past two weeks.
As the years went by, so did the beatings -- to the point that Young's career seemed fully shattered. Just two years ago, Young fell out of the top 200 in the world. But it was actually worse than that. For a player who once seemed like he could be equal parts Andre Agassi, Marcelo Rios and Kei Nishikori, we actually stopped talking about him, expect on those scarce occasions when the subject of squandered talent came up. In the great realm of sport, perhaps nothing is more discouraging than the shrill sound of silence.
Now, a decade later, we can happily report the noise and fanfare are again picking up. Young reached his first final in four years Sunday, this one coming at the Delray Beach Open, where he played brilliantly before running into one of the game's most lethal servers, Ivo Karlovic, in the championship match. Behind 13 aces, the Croatian handed Young a 6-3, 6-3 beating.
By all accounts, this was one of Karlovic's finest weeks as a pro. He belted 91 aces for the tournament and saved all 19 break-point opportunities to become the oldest winner (35) in the event's history and foil the American's shot at a first title.
"I was able to get out of tricky situations," Karlovic said. "Really proud that I was able to get out of all my break points."
Despite a disappointing end for Young, it was a great run for a player who admitted he's changed things up recently.
"I put a lot of work in during the offseason," Young told ESPN.com via phone shortly after the match. "Also made a decision to be more resilient and play tougher, especially mentally. It's worked for me so far. It's translated into wins on the court and that's all I can ask for."
Young's only other final in an ATP event came in Bangkok in 2011. But that was a lifetime ago as far as Young is concerned.
This past week, Young showed some serious resolve. He came back from a set down against both Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarters and Bernard Tomic in the semis to win.
And though Young was overmatched in Sunday's final, we've seen a drastic change both mentally and physically this season. Just last week, he reached the semifinals in Memphis before another towering opponent in Kevin Anderson stopped him. But this is just the beginning of what should be more promising results, according to Young.
"First title, for sure tops the list," Young said when asked about his immediate goals. "I want to keep playing well week in, week out. I want to play consistently and start competing in the bigger tournaments and then get my ranking up there. Then eventually I want to start doing well in the majors."
Granted, there had been snippets of promise in the Young's capricious career (such as reaching the fourth round of the 2011 US Open), but he had spent the bulk of his existence unable to sync his tremendous talent with his on-court results. Worse, when he was garnering attention, it frequently was for all the wrong reasons.
You might recall the profanity-laced Twitter tirade directed at the USTA when Young ripped the organization for not granting him a wild card into the 2011 French Open.
Young later apologized and admitted his outburst was something of an unforced error, but the damage was done. The dissonance between the two parties seemed irreparable at the time. Young was hung on a Twitter piñata for the public manner in which he criticized an institution that had assisted his development, both financially and in personnel. It goes without saying, the hostile chain of events left both parties feeling slighted.
There was also a feeling among some in tennis circles that Young was being coddled by his parents, who rarely made him practice with the unbending intensity it takes to win in today's game. Although Young still predominantly works with them, it seems he has asserted some independence, realizing his old methods weren't exactly the best formula.
But the drama is in the past as far as Young is concerned.
[+] EnlargeIvo Karlovic
Mal Fairclough/AFP/Getty ImagesIvo Karlovic's serve overwhelmed Donald Young in the final of the Delray Beach Open.
"It's great. We're definitely cool," Young said of the USTA. "It was a pretty big misunderstanding. The USTA has been great with me. They've gone out of their way to help me. They've invited me up to Carson [California] to train. Jay Berger [head of player development for the USTA] actually came out to watch me this week and the USTA had someone warm me up all week."
Young has played some snappy tennis this season. He's off to a 10-4 start; last season he didn't win his 10th match until June. Young's ranking jumped to No. 45 from 56 as of Monday morning -- just shy of his career high of No. 38, which he achieved in February of 2012.
"He has a really good forehand," Karlovic said of Young. "It's unbelievable. He's use it a lot more. With fitness and confidence, he was able to create opportunities for him with that shot. It's his main weapon and he's using it well."
It's hard to say exactly what Young's results in Memphis last week and now Delray will mean moving forward. And while those visions of a future Grand Slam champion that we had back in 2005 may never fully materialize, at least there's a positive spin we can put on a longtime jagged career.
"Well, I've done a lot of losing," Young said. "So I thought, '[Might] as well try something new.' It's been working. I keep trying different things until I get it right."