Tennis Prose



Ryan Harrison vs Donald Young, Martin Blackman and Frances Tiafoe? has learned from a source this week at Sarasota Open about a series of events that may indicate racial unfairness by the USTA directed against Ryan Harrison.

Last year at the New York Open, 26 year old Ryan Harrison and Donald Young played a heated singles match won by Harrison 63 76. It was the sixth time Harrison had beaten his older compatriot Young (against two losses), not including the 2017 French Open doubles final.

After the match, Young claimed Harrison made racist remarks on the court against Young which were later found to be false and fabricated. No witnesses came forward to substantiate Young’s claims and the issue soon faded away.

The source says USTA boss Martin Blackman took Young’s side.

Case no. 2. After the recent Jussie Smollet racism claims against two Donald Trump supporters in Chicago was proven to be another fake racism hoax, Harrison tweeted “Donald Young can relate.” A humorous tweet that provoked support and laughter from several ATP players. Martin Blackman allegedly privately criticized Harrison about this tweet and defended Young.

Case no. 3. Later last year, Harrison had a match with Frances Tiafoe in Geneva, Switzerland on clay and Tiafoe prevailed 36 76 64. During the third set of the match, with Tiafoe leading 3-1, Tiafoe did his celebratory “LeBron James” arm gestures which everyone knows is a bravado tribute to the NBA superstar. Harrison, annoyed by it, commented on the court, “Who does he think he is, LeBron James?”

Martin Blackman allegedly called Harrison out on this comment and via email, asserted it had racial overtones. Blackman allegedly threatened to cease supporting Harrison with USTA coaching. At the time Harrison was being coached by David Sanguinetti out of his own pocket and also Michael Russell, via the USTA. Harrison responded to Blackman that he did not need any USTA coaching support and promptly ended his association with Russell.

Blackman also allegedly contacted the ATP and tried to pressure the ATP to suspend Harrison for the LeBron James comments. The ATP refused Blackman’s request.

Tiafoe and Harrison were at one time pretty good friends, despite Tiafoe holding a 3-1 edge in career head to head matches. Harrison even invited Tiafoe to attend his wedding to Lauren McHale in 2017 but according to the source, Tiafoe allegedly declined the invite because he wasn’t overly interested to be around “all those white people.”

The source is highly credible and I find absolutely no motive to fabricate these accusations/allegations. I sensed a deep frustration and disappointment by the source and the unfair, irresponsible actions by Blackman.

Harrison is currently ranked 109. Tiafoe is 29. Young is ranked just inside the top 200. invited Martin Blackman and Frances Tiafoe to make any comments or statements about these allegations.

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  • Dan Markowitz · April 18, 2019 at 6:16 am

    Please Scoop, the only problem with Harrison is he stinks. He’s 3-7 on the season and his only wins this year are against Karlovic on clay and Vesely and Harris. He’s been a big disappointment as has Young to a greater degree. So one could say that Harrison and Young are both on their way out of any kind of spotlight. Tiafoe, on the other hand, is rising and certainly the top young American now.

    Also, if Harrison really did tweet that about Young after the Smollett case he’s a jerk as to make an analogy between a guy who claims he was racially slurred on the tennis court to a guy who staged his own beating is absurd.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Young and Smollet both faked racial hate charges against innocent people, that’s the relation. But enough about this, it’s opening up a can of worms and snakes and boa constrictors. Harrison is a very good player in a super tough era, won an ATP title and a major doubles final. It is below expectations and even Mats Wilander’s projections of top 4 in the world.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 18, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Actually, Wilander predicted Top 3. Don’t think so, Mats. For Harry to be ranked outside the Top 100 at 26 is a big disappointment. He’s had as many coaches as Roddick and really if you want to make the comparison between Harry and Roddick, I think that’s what tennis experts like Wilander were making when he first came on the scene and was doing so well at 18.

    So in my eyes, Harry has been a disappointment and he seems to be on a downward spiral. Look, he’s still young enough as is Sandgren to turn it around. Look at Fritz this week beating Tsonga and Diego after losing four first-round matches in a row. At 21, and ranked no. 65 (sure to go up after this week), maybe Fritz is showing some signs of resurgence. I’m sure if you held up Harry’s career and said, “Would you sign up for this in five years?” Fritz wouldn’t be happy.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2019 at 9:54 am

    No not at all, Fritz has openly said on the record he would like to be the best player in the world at some point. I think all the young tigers feel this way and some even dare to express it in public, which is commendable, it takes courage to reveal your highest goals and dreams, to lay it on the line. If you believe it you can achieve it. I still think Harrison can get to his highest ATP ranking above 40 something, I think he can get into the 20s.

  • Dan Markowitz · April 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

    I don’t think as a young guy like Fritz you say you think you can be the best player in the world. It’s crazy. Get in the top 50 first and then the top 20 and then the top 10 before you say you think you can be the top player in the world. Fritz got three games against Djokovic today in Monte Carlo. Even though Fritz isn’t a clay court player, you can’t talk about being no. 1 when you get 3 games in a match against the no. 1 player.

    I think Harry will never get back into the top 50. He’s cooked. He should really think with Sock about teaming up being the no. 1 doubles team.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 18, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Sock values doubles far less than singles, he’s far from through with singles. Just needs to devote himself more. Fritz has some flaws but he has some strengths too. An interesting project and dangerous player. Wiping out Schwartzman was a big win on clay. Losing to Djokovic like he did is no shocker. Djokovic is a man on a mission, he wants to win MC and send Rafa a big message.



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