Remember Donald Young?
The American tennis player who was going to be the next big thing?
Well here he is in the fourth round of the US Open, after beating No. 22 seed Viktor Troicki in dramatic fashion, 0-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-4.
This is his third “miracle comeback” of the tournament.
“Those two sets were over,” Young said. “I just kind of had to keep feeling. I felt like I was in the first set. Even though I lost 6-0, I had game points in the games. I felt like I still had more to give. The body allowing me to go ahead, a lot more to give. I was going to give it. If that was enough, I would win. If it wasn’t, I would be satisfied with going out there and competing my butt off.”
Call him the comeback kid as he joins fellow American John Isner in the fourth round with Young facing No. 5 seed Stan Wawrinka on Monday.
” I mean, that’s great,” Young said. “We’re in the U.S. Americans want to see Americans on TV. That’s the thing. I know growing up, I wanted to see Americans on TV, which were Agassi, Sampras, Courier, McEnroe, those guys.
“It’s awesome for John and I. He’s been doing it longer than me and more consistently. For me to get in there every once in a while and hopefully become consistent, it’s awesome.”
Young has been an afterthought to say the least. He even jokes on how they “moved on from me.” The 26 year-old though made a key decision this year by concentrating on his fitness. If he couldn’t be the most talented player, he was going to be the most in shape. That helped him in the five setters as the American wore down his opponents.
” The basis of my game has been outmaneuvering the guy, putting him in awkward positions,” he said. “When I was younger, even in juniors, I was 10 years old playing the 14s, or 12 playing the 16s. I was always smaller than the guys so I had to find a way to defuse the power, do something different.
“I’m never going to be one of the guys like Isner or some of the guys who are a lot taller than me. I’m not going to be hitting a ton of aces, I’m not going to be slapping you off the court. I’m going to have to find other ways.
“Fitness was a way that could actually give me an edge or something that would let me compete with the guys. I’ve definitely been working on that. That’s something you can definitely control 100% yourself. You can’t control what the other guy does, but you can control how your body is, how much work you put in, how strong you can be, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
It’s the game-plan Herb Brooks employed in 1980 with the Olympic Hockey Team and that worked out well.
You never know how this run will end. Wawrinka is a tough opponent – and Isner faces Roger Federer – so Labor Day may be an American massacre – however, Young put himself back on the landscape and made a few bucks here.
So if nothing else, the Open has been a huge success for him.
“I never really forgot the fact that when I was 19, I wasn’t going to be good ever. When I was 15, I was supposed to win Wimbledon the next year,” he said. “Yeah, it’s always felt like that. I tried to keep it in perspective. The results at a younger age kind of change the perspective a little bit. That’s fine. That’s what happens when you kind of do things at an accelerated pace.”
“I’m here now, I’m 26. I’m right in the thick of things. That’s when a lot of people start to play well. I’m playing better. I want to continue it. Not just focus on that, focus on myself, constant improvement, little things. I feel like if I can improve things a little bit, it can be more consistent and I can keep moving up.”