Donald Young, Exclusive Interview

By Jane Voigt

Down The Tee caught with American Donald Young after his second round win over Canadian Frank Dancevic at The Winston-Salem Open, the last stop on the U.S. Open Series of tournaments. 

Tomorrow,  the 25-year-old Young will step on Grandstand Court in his 10th appearance at The U.S. Open ranked higher than ever before, No. 46. He plays Slovenia Blaz Kavcic for the first time. 

Sweat flies from Donald Young in his victory over Denis Istomin at Citi Open, July, 2014. Photo credit

On entering his 10th U.S. Open with a higher profile:
I’m playing well, and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. It’s my highest ranking ever [coming into the Open]. I’m 25 now, feeling good, very optimistic … a lot depends on the draw with a tournament like the U.S. Open and not being seeded. But with the right scenario I feel I could do well. 

On his progress this year, the mental about face:
I feel as if I’m competing the whole time, not tapping out or letting my mind wander, just staying focused. I think that’s what it comes down to at this level. Everybody can hit the ball great, but it’s who competes the best and fights … I continue to have those lows and come back and have some highs and hopefully that’s not over …. 

On those expectations from 10 years ago in the juniors:
Yeah, I had some expectations from those people that might have been a little unrealistic. When I look at it now, when I was 15 playing grown men it seems a little unrealistic that I was going to come out and beat those guys. But, I got the opportunity because of the junior results. And, you never know, I could have won some matches, but it didn’t happen. But the expectations I understand them now. Everybody does it in their own time

What motivates Young?
To be honest it’s winning Grand Slams and making history, but I rely more on me to do better. I just don’t want to leave anything on the table. I want to know that I gave it what I could give it, and tried the best I could and lay your head down at night and be satisfied with that. 

His favorite athletes … does he ‘channel’ Tiger Woods:
No, no … I haven’t gotten that good yet but I … he definitely inspired me. He’s still one of my favorite and Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, and Agassi. All those winners. 

Practice partners and hanging out on the ATP Tour:
In Atlanta I practice with a lot of college guys who play the Futures down there. They’re ranked 600 to 1000. And you have some pros. Bobby Reynolds lives there; he just retired. And I’m playing a lot of tournaments, so I play with the guys on the tour … Me and Jack Sock hang out quite a bit, Steve Johnson – we’re cool – pretty much all the American guys, Querrey, Isner. We talk. I spend some of the off-season in L.A. We go out to dinner.

He’s not done yet, but how would Young give back to tennis:
I haven’t done much with that lately, but anything I’m asked to do with the kids I do that. I’m really looking forward to hopefully doing something with The Boys and Girls Club, but really anywhere I could help to get the kids active.


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