Besides a nice payday and a little notoriety, Donald Young’s performance in this year’s US Open puts him back on the radar.
In an era, where American tennis is starving for someone to grasp onto, Young just may be the man for the U.S. going forward. At 26, he’s still youthful enough to improve and reach the levels of the man who ousted him today, No. 5 seed Stan Wawrinka.
“I hope not far (away),” Young said. “You know, I feel like I should be playing these matches more often, but it hasn’t happened lately.
“But I would like to say, you know, the rest of this year and next year can start being somewhat consistently. To be playing at his level is going to take a little more than what I’m doing currently. He’s won a couple slams and playing consistently in the second week of slams.
“That’s quality right there.”
You have to give Young credit. An also-ran for the past few years, he did the work to improve. His commitment to fitness is almost religious and because he may be the best conditioned tennis player, Young can survive these marathons that he played in over the last week.
The same way Herb Brooks had the 1980 Olympic hockey team in better condition than the rest of the field, Young’s physical condition allows him to step up his game, especially in the hot weather of Flushing.
And it will let you win a few matches. However, he still needs to step up his game is he plans on beating the Stans, Rafas, Rogers, and Novaks of the world.
“I think I’m a little more ready to be a little more consistent than it was (a few years ago),” he said. “At that point it was a shot, and, yeah, I just feel better about myself. I feel like things are coming around. I really feel like, you know, I’m ready to do it on a consistent level and not just do it for a while or work hard for a little bit and then relax. I’m looking forward to keeping it going.”
First he has a date in Uzbekistan for the Davis Cup, something that may be somewhat different than he experienced this week.
“This week is awesome. Uzbekistan, it’s going to be the same thing where I am playing for the U.S. and we’re going to be trying to beat Uzbekistan to get back in the World Group,” he said. “We are going to have our team of support and look to that. If it’s hostile or not, I don’t know. I know it’s not like the best place to be going, but I’m excited to be part of the team and get the call and do whatever is needed.”
No matter what happens, Young still has this week. It could be his breakout party, something that was a long time coming.
And the excursion was certainly a learning experience.
“Really the whole journey I got to learn myself quite a bit and learn what, you know, what I’m about and, you know, what I have in me, what I don’t, what I like and what I don’t like,” Young said.
“Just growing up and maturing quite a bit. To go from winning everything to not winning much to having some success to having no success. It’s been a lot of back and forth. Just the resilient part for me, because I could have easily stopped a while ago and done something else, gone back to school.
“I have said a bunch of times I was going to do that. At the end of the day I don’t play tennis for a few days and I miss it. I love tennis. Without it I don’t know what I would do. I’m sure after I’m finished playing professionally I’m going to do something in tennis, as well.
“And what I dislike the most probably was losing those 14 matches in a row from 15 to like 17.”
Welcome back Donald Young.