Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The future is now (or at least by 2010)

So the U.S. Open Series kicked off last week with Radek Stepanek, on the comeback trail, knocking off James Blake in L.A. and Anna Chakvetadze winning another title in Cincy over Akiko Morigami. There was also some clay-court tennis going on with Nadal, near-300th ranked Darcis and Szavay coming through.

However, the biggest result of the weekend if you're a tennis follower didn't happen on either of the main tours, but rather on the ATP Challenger Circuit. The day before his 18th birthday, Donald Young won his first Challenger beating solid pro Bobby Reynolds in the final, and kind of handily, too. A couple of weeks ago, he won junior Wimbledon, which you can say is pretty much like winnning a Futures tournament (which he won one of a few months ago, too.) Not a bad stretch, considering everyone had pretty much written him off (yours truly included.) I admit I've seen the error of my ways!

I think something that's been a big contribution to this run was practicing with the Davis Cup team during its quarterfinal match--at least that's what the results indicate: Some quarters here, a semi or two there, some wins. Practicing in a stress-free environment and seeing how the big boys prepare seems to have gotten him on track, and obviously having a great support system with hsi parents has helped tremendously.

One of the knocks I had against him was that he was too slight to compete at a higher level; I thought those spins and touch he uses to trick kids with would have never played out well against stronger players. However, the other night, I was on YouTube and stumbled upon some old Marcelo Rios clips (What can I say? I'm a tennis nut who looks at YouTube for old tennis clips!) and thought, "Hmmm, here's a super-talented left-hander with super speed who's smaller than the other guys." Sound familiar?

I'm not saying he's the next Rios, but I think by 2010, he should definitely be in the top 20, if not 10. Once he gets in that area, there's not gonna be much to stop him from sticking around there for a few years.

So in other words, Donald Young's gonna be A-OK.

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