Category Archives: Donald Young

How Not to Develop a Prodigy, Part II: Patrick McEnroe Rips Entitlement of Donald Young, U.S. Youth (Forgets Where it Came from)

Donald Young

I agree with Patrick McEnroe that today’s kids have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. In my opinion, especially with star athletes, it comes when you treat kids like rock stars, build them up too much. They are used to having things taken care of for them. You just focus on your greatness, we’ll deal with everything else. We’ll resolve your problems.

So they don’t live a normal childhood and then don’t know how to behave normally as adults. They have no practice at solving problems.

Donald Young has a ridiculous sense of entitlement.

Maybe that led to his profane outburst on Twitter Friday, when he wrote, “Fu—USTA!!’’ They’re “full of sh–!’’ Or, maybe not. That’s just McEnroe’s side of the story, that Young was upset he wasn’t handed a wildcard, a free pass, into the French Open. He didn’t want to play the six-person tournament the USTA had set up first. We still haven’t heard Young’s side of things.

Where are you Donald?

But let’s just take McEnroe’s word for now. He is frustrated, and had a teleconference Monday to talk about it, saying several things such as this: “You have to earn your way to get something.’’

It was a shot directed straight at Young. The problem was it wasn’t pointed the right way.

Don’t blame children for feeling entitled. It’s the adults. The kids aren’t born with an attitude problem, but have a lack of maturity, and also faulty teaching about compassion and empathy. Rock stars don’t need those things.

For example, imagine this: A sports agency and one of the greatest, and most popular tennis players of all time, get together to concoct a story that turns some 10-year old kid into The Chosen One. Turns him into tennis’ Tiger Woods. All he hears for years is that he’s the greatest. He can’t miss. And then, as a kid, he gets wildcard entries into pro events, where he can be crushed regularly, but everyone can ogle him. That, of course, interests Nike.

Meanwhile, the USTA pushes him as The Next Great Thing.

Well, we don’t have to imagine that, do we? That is Donald Young’s story. The USTA sold him – to us and to him and to his family—as the next great thing. Now, Patrick McEnroe, of the USTA, speaks out against his sense of entitlement? Of course he has a sense of entitlement. Continue reading


How Not to Develop a Prodigy: Donald Young Tweets “Fu– USTA.” Will USTA Dump Him?

Patrick McEnroe

Donald Young

At this point, I wonder if the USTA will just cut ties with Donald Young. This could be its big chance to get rid of its biggest headache. And in some ways, that might be best for both sides. A nightmare relationship between prodigy and governing body hit an unbelievable depth Friday when Young wrote this on his Twitter account:

“Fu– USTA!! Their full of sh–! They have screwed me for the last time!’’

Only he didn’t shorten the words to keep them clean enough for publication. (Yes, he wrote “Their’’ instead of “They’re’’).

You just can’t write that, uh, stuff. You can disagree. You can point out that they are bullying you, that they are favoring others over you, that they are lying to you. Young and his parents, who coach him, have accused the USTA of all of those things over the years. But you can’t say Fu—them. Not publicly. Every line was stepped over, stomped on, spit on. That said, my first reaction was that Young is wrong:

The USTA will absolutely screw him again.

No matter how this thing is portrayed, no matter how the USTA tries to put this all on Young – today, Patrick McEnroe, head of USTA’s player development, will have a teleconference – this is a two-sided coin.

And the USTA had better be very careful. Let me put it bluntly: In a sport that has a history of being extremely white, it’s bad enough that the USTA can’t get along with one of the only black players to actually come through its system. It gets worse if that means all effort and hope are given instead to Ryan Harrison, a white kid from the south. That’s assuming Harrison’s relationship with the USTA is still solid.

And I’m not sure it is.

But the Young family is already looking at Harrison and making comparisons, wondering about special treatment. “Look at who gets all the wildcards (free and automatic entries into tournaments),’’ someone close to Young told me recently.

What an amazing run this has been for Young and the USTA, an amazing run of failure. It is not just a story of a failed kid, but also a failed governing body.

They have failed each other, failed themselves, failed you and me and the tennis world. At this point, Young and the USTA both look like losers. You want to pick sides? Go ahead.

This is the story of how not to develop a prodigy. He has been fumbled and mishandled by his own parents, by the USTA, by agents and by a hype machine that started with John McEnroe. Plus, Young has mishandled himself.

And what did we get? Not the savior of U.S. tennis, that’s for sure. Not a good-looking black kid from inner-city Chicago providing an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime boost to a game that could have used him. Continue reading


With Sampras, Courier Pushing This `Princess,’ Donald Young has Big Moment. What will he do with it?

A few months ago, Pete Sampras was beating Donald Young in a groundstroke game, of all things, and trash-talking. Repeat: Young, a 21-year old groundstroker and one-time hope of American tennis, was losing to a nearly 40-year old legend at what should be the worst part of his game.

“He calls me `Princess,’ ’’ Young said. “And he talks a lot of stuff. . .I didn’t know whether to take it seriously or not.’’

Take it seriously, Donald. Sampras was joking, but the best jokes carry some truth with them.

Young was the talk of the first week at Indian Wells after his breakthrough win over Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-3. For the first time, we were able to see Young at the top level of tennis, fighting as if he belongs.

So where does Donald Young stand now? What does he take from Indian Wells?

Think about this: We have been hearing about him for years, but this was the first time it was for beating somebody.

Continue reading