Monday, October 13, 2008

Young at heart, redux

There were some interesting results over the weekend on the ATP tour (which I DEFINITELY plan on writing about later on), but one stood out to me, in a good way.

Donald Young won the Challenger event in Sacramento, beating Robert Kendrick in the finals—and pretty easily at that. Winning moved him back into the top 120, which still isn't where he should be talent-wise, but at least he's going back in a positive direction.

As I've mentioned before, I've been kind of critical of him in the past. I don't really have doubts about his ability, but the way he's gone about being a pro has just left something to be desired as far as I'm concerned. I would love for him to get a real coach and it doesn't even have to be a great one—just someone who's worked with a pro or has been a pro, or both.

Also, since he's down in Atlanta, he should be practicing with Robby Ginepri and Bobby Reynolds all the time. While Ginepri may have pretty much devolved into a journeyman and Reynolds is one, they're still big, strong, fit guys who could show Young what that element of the game could bring to his own. Ginepri's had a lot of success on tour, too, and that could be an example for Young to follow.

This is the main thing, though, that I'd like to see Young do: Play more Challengers! And ones all over the world! After he lost to James Blake in the first round at the U.S. Open this year, I was scanning the Challengers calendar and saw one in Spain I actually thought would have been great for him, but he was nowhere to be found, at any tournament. He just has to play, and playing everywhere can only help.

Guys his age (Juan Martin del Potro, Ernests Gulbis, Marin Cilic) are way ahead of him right now, but if you were to look at it from an ability standpoint, I don't think much separates Young from them. I hope Sacramento is the start (with no backtracking) for him getting there.


Shelia said...

Hi Van!

I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers. I didn't even post anything because I didn't want to jinx the Young one.

I hope that this encourages him a bit and helps him move forward.

TopSpin said...

I haven't seen Young play very much, although I know how much is expected of him.
I was just having a look through some of his results on the mens tour and although theres relatively little to go on, he certainly appears to have the game to push the top players.
Getting a proper coach though as you say, is a must. Someone new on his side and a large number of wins at Challengers will do no end of good for his confidence and may be all he needs...

van said...

• Hey Sheila! I was so happy to even see him in the draw there! I was worried about him going into the finals, but he really put it on Kendrick, which is a good result. I would love to see Donald keep playing Challengers for the rest of the year. They have to keep the momentum going.

• What's up, Topspin? Yeah, he has the strokes and the speed to cause others trouble, but just hasn't done it yet. A few little tweaks—like a new coach, playing Challengers—can make all the difference.