If we have learned anything from Donald Young over the years, it’s that the time to talk about his emergence is now. Today. As in, before his next match at the French Open, when everything could be ruined.
This month marked 10 years since Young’s first professional tennis match. He was 14. Of course, in his case, we knew about him even before that, when John McEnroe, playing a senior event in Chicago, walked past a court and saw Young, a ballboy, hitting groundstrokes. McEnroe was so taken by what he saw that he started hitting with Young, then ran and called his agent to tell him about this amazing kid.
That whole story was a fake, by the way. It was a publicity stunt set up by agents, and it worked to build a myth. The myth worked against Young, told a lie that everyone bought into, including Young and his parents, because U.S. tennis is so desperate for the next big thing.
But since then, Young’s career has had far too much reality, anyway. The losses. The highs followed by crushing lows. The moping. The giving up. And the contentious relationship with the USTA, which once led Young to tweet “FU—USTA!’’
The thing is, when he beat Feliciano Lopez in the second round of the French Open, Young, finally became a feelgood story again, guaranteed to last until his next match, anyway.
It’s time to take another look at Donald Young.
And maybe the USTA, too. Young has told stories of how he was childhood friends with fellow Chicagoan Taylor Townsend, who had her breakthrough at this French Open. The USTA threatened to cut funding on Townsend two years ago, saying she wasn’t fit. It was a dangerous threat, using a code word to call a teenage girl fat.
That story isn’t going to go away. CNN asked Townsend about it on Thursday, and she said that when she got the news from the USTA, she went home and cried.
So two black kids from Chicago, two prospects who were the No. 1 junior players in the world, had major fallouts with the organization charged with developing them. That said, the USTA did help Continue reading