Donald Young: ´I Was Always Smaller Than the Guys, Had to Find a Way´- View: 2783 by Ivan Pasquariello
A decade ago, Donald Young was the next big thing of American tennis. A lot of pressure was put on that 16-year-old shoulders back then, to save American tennis. It was 2005, Andy Roddick was still No.1 for U.S.
men's tennis, and had won his maiden US Open title in 2003. That would end up being the very last men's singles title collected by an American in New York and in general at any Grand Slam tournament. Donald, with his pure talent left handed forehand and ability to make players play bad while dominating the rallies, was the name Americans had selected to bet on for the near future.
As a Junior Donald was ranked at World No.1 and became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam tournament in the juniors at the Australian Open, until Bernard Tomic passed him in 2008.
Before moving into the pro, Donald also won the Wimbledon juniors title in 2007, becoming the first American to do so since Scott Humphries in 1994. Because of these achievements, a weight of tons of expectations was set on Donald's shoulder.
And they budged. Young didn't transition into the pros as great as many expected. Donald had to wait until 2011 to break big for the first time, reaching the 4th round at the US Open, as World No.84, beating Stan Wawrinka - back then World No.14 - on the way.
It seemed the time had come to see Donald rapidly climbing the rankings. That didn't happen. Young climbed to a career best at No.38, but didn't go further than that. It was also becoming clear what Donald needed to work on to make his way into the pro circuit with more success.
Donald admitted he started working on his fitness over the years, eating better, going to the gym, working as hard as he could. That was a key turning point, and now, four years after that incredible result, Donald managed to battle for hours and hours on the court, coming back from two sets down in two occasions, to reach round of 16 at the US Open.
He couldn't have done it years ago, if he hadn't started working as hard as he has now, in more recent times. Now next for him will be the same man he beat in New York almost half a decade ago, Stan Wawrinka. We selected some of the best quotes from Donald in his press conference after reaching the 4th round, to help you understand his character, big heart and lit passion, for the sport and for the incredible support he has been receiving from the U.S.
crowd. "I am finally feeling like really good overall about everything. I am still not quite where I want to be, but it's definitively an improvement. I really am feeling quite good". Donald revealed what it was growing up into a sport that has become more physical, with big guys, and how he had to find his own way of winning.
"The basis of my game has been outmaneuvering the guy, put my opponent into an awkward position. You know, I was always smaller than the guys, so I had to find a way to defuse the power, do something different." Donald revealed he had been reading a lot of self-help books, but wouldn't reveal the titles.
One thing he remember well, though, is the day he practice with Pete Sampras years ago. "For him to hit with me...It was just great. I was late for the practice session, and he apparently never waits for anyone if they are more than 5 minutes late.
I was wait and he kind of waited for me. We were playing points. I beat him in a couple of baseline games. But you know, the serve hasn't gone away." "Pete said he expected some really big things from me.
It was big to hear that from a champion like Sampras" confirmed Donald. Now wearing a hashtag that says #younginmotion Donald things of a mentor role in the future, to help kids get active.
It is just a thought now, but definitively a goal for life after tennis for him. Donald has been supported all along by the American crown here in New York. All colours, all backgrounds, all for him. "It has been incredible.
I wouldn't have done it without them. I really hope everybody will come to support me against Stan". .