Tennis Prose



Donald Young Won’t Give Up

Donald Young is 32 now and probably the majority if tennis observers would conclude he’s finished as a factor on the ATP World Tour.

But Donald Young believes otherwise. He’s still out there grinding it out on the circuit, trying to rebuild his ranking, and revive his career.

This past week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Challenger, with a ranking of 405, Young won a first round match with unranked Milledge Cossu but then lost to eventual finalist Alex Tabilo 62 61.

It’s been a lost year for Young, as he compiled an 0-1 ATP record and 9-15 overall. Some might even call it a nightmare year for Young due to the severe scarcity of valuable, inspiring moments on the court.

From May to September he lost first round in seven straight tournaments before finally winning in Vero Beach against an unranked American junior named Jack Anthrop 62 75 but then in the second round he lost to another unranked player named Matt Segura 36 04 retired.

Young’s only ATP main draw match was in Winston-Salem – a double bagel loss to Tung Lin Wu, who is ranked 276 in the world.

For all his efforts, Young earned just over $13,233 in prize money this year, to add to his overall of $4.7m.

There is some hope for Young though as he marches – or staggers – into 2022. Earlier this year the former no. 38 in the world and former Roland Garros doubles finalist, did post a win against Stefan Kozlov in three sets in the second round of Delray Beach qualies and in Cary, he almost beat world no. 96 Denis Kudla 67 64 26 in September. He played a few World Team Tennis matches this month for Chicago Smash and was competitive, winning as many games as he lost, with a win over the highest ranked American Taylor Fritz.

Young will need to play ITFs and Challengers to get back into the ATP mix. And as Emma Raducanu, Kozlov and that unranked junior Russian unknown who beat Diego Schwartzman in Davis Cup showed us this year, anything is possible…

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  • Cory · December 9, 2021 at 12:11 am

    Donald Young always draws my attention. I secretly root for him despite being such a clown and having a poor attitude. Looking at his game today, I wonder how he had such good success previously. He really doesn’t have any distinct weaponry. Scoop can you comment how his game was different 10 years ago? Or is it all attitude.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 9, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Cory, Not sure if Young ever improved or changed. I was at Hewitt vs Young at Legg Mason Citi Open in DC in 2009, they played a night match on stadium court and it was a decent match but of course Hewitt won a close first set and cruised 75 62. After the match at the press conference, Hewitt commented that Young had a good forehand but just an ok backhand and serve and he needed to improve those shots. But I don’t think Young ever did improve those two shots and he always was the same player. He has some awesome natural talent and touch and court sense but he never had a pro coach, it was always his mom and dad. Spadea wanted to work with him but it was never worked out. Spadea also believed in him. I think Young’s failure was not hiring a real pro coach. He never really improved. He was mismanaged and has been an underachiever. Had he hired a coach like Brad Gilbert or Spadea or Wayne Ferreira, I think Young would have been top ten.



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