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What has happened to Donald Young?

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TheMadHatter
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What has happened to Donald Young? « on: August 06, 2012, 05:10 PM »
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If you've bothered to open this thread, you're probably wondering - who cares about Donald Young? Or even, who IS Donald Young?

As for the latter question, I'd imagine most on here would know of him. He's the guy who took our Andy out of Indian Wells in 2011, ranked #143 at the time. They then met again at the US Open where Andy got revenge, winning 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, and again in the Bangkok final last September where Andy won 6-2, 6-0.

Now Young's plight has fascinated me. As a 16yo he was the junior #1 and touted to become one of the greats. All the pressure heaped upon his shoulders had a huge impact on him however, and he's really failed to make any impact on the tour. Until last year. Last year, aged 21, he beat Murray, and that seemed to really kickstart his career. He started rising up the rankings thanks to a Challenger win, and reached the 2nd round at Eastbourne. He broke the top 100 after reaching the SFs at the Washington 500 event, before reaching the 4th round of the US Open and the final of Bangkok (losing heavily to Murray both times). He ended 2011 at a career high of 43 after victories against the likes of Monfils, Baghdatis, Melzer and Wawrinka.

Going into this year it looked like he was finally realising his potential. It looked like, having had his breakthrough season, he was really going to push on and challenge the top 30.

Instead he's had the worst season of his career and has gone so far backwards it's almost impossible to believe.

Here's where it gets interesting.

So far this year he's picked up just 165 ranking points. This sticks him 203rd (!) in the rankings for 2012 (or more commonly known as the ATP Race to London). Level with British #4 James Ward. He's won just two matches all year. TWO! They were against Peter Gojowczyk (then ranked #248) and Grigor Dimitrov (then ranked #83). He hasn't won a match since Memphis, nearly six months ago. Has anyone EVER had such a poor run of form? Two wins all year, to 18 losses. He's lost to the likes of Jamie Baker (now British #2, then ranked #200) and Steve Johnson (then ranked #402).

Here are his results from 2012:

Auckland: R1 - Falla (#80) 6-4, 3-6, 3-6
Australian Open: R2 - Lacko (#119) - 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 3-6
San Jose: R1 - Russell (#104) - 1-6, 6-7
Memphis: R2 - Isner (#13) - 6-7, 3-6
Delray Beach: R1 - Sweeting (#82) - 1-6, 1-6
Indian Wells: R1 - Darcis (#71) - 2-6, 6-3, 6-7
Miami: R1 - Goffin (#148) - 5-7, 4-6
Casablanca: R1 - Paire (#102) - 6-4, 6-7, 2-6
Monte Carlo: R1 - Mathieu (#352) - 0-6, 1-6
Madrid: R1 - Troicki (#30) - 1-6, 6-4, 1-6
Rome: R1 - Simon (#12) - 2-6, 5-7
Nice: R1 - Bellucci (#70) - 7-6, 0-6, 3-6
Roland Garros: R1 - Dimitrov (#87) - 6-7, 1-6, 1-6
Eastbourne: R1 - Baker (#200) - 1-6, 4-6
Wimbledon: R1 - Youzhny (#33) - 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 3-6
Newport: R1 - Russell (#96) - 6-1, 1-6, 4-6
Atlanta: R1 - Johnson (#402) - 3-6, 6-3, 3-6
Olympics: R1 - Seppi (#28) - 4-6, 4-6

This is quite an incredible poor run of form. He is currently ranked #84 in the world, but in just a month's time he could lose 360 ranking points from the US Open (saving at least 10 of them if his ranking is high enough to get into the main draw). After that he could lose another 150 from Bangkok. Now, that's assuming he goes out in R1 of both events. But given that he hasn't won a match in six months, and has one just two matches all year, I think we can assume that there's a great chance that will happen.

By October he could be ranked around around #270 in the world. 150 places down on where he started 2011, nearly two years on. Over 220 down from his career best he set 10 months ago. Now, he could and may very well win a few matches before the year is out and save a few ranking points. But short of a sudden upturn in form he's going to end 2012 well, well down on where he ended 2011.

It is surely no coincidence that this downturn in form has happened after sacking his coach at the end of 2011. The reasons for this were unclear at the time, and it later appeared there was a bit of a dispute between Young and the USTA. After this he went back to being coached by his mother - often a recipe for disaster - and has been a shadow of his former self since then.

So how does someone go from playing so well, to so, well, awful, in the space of a couple of months? Is it really all down to that change of coach? His mental strength has often been questioned after his struggles since going on tour but is it really so bad that he can't stop this rot?

It really is an extraordinary collapse and shows what can happen to a player when it starts going wrong and they can't find a way back.
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Sir Panda
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 06:18 PM »
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Bloody hell, knew he was having a crapper, but 2-18?!!

Good post, well researched.
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Tasmanian Devil
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 06:19 PM »
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They met in the Bangkok final last September where Andy won 6-2, 6-0.

That's the first thing that always comes to my mind when I think of Young.
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #3 on: August 06, 2012, 06:39 PM »
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Now he's 2-19 with an opening round loss in Toronto against Jeremy Chardy.
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TheMadHatter
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #4 on: August 06, 2012, 06:41 PM »
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I've been following the results at all the ATP events this year and I've noticed that he's been struggling, but it wasn't until I noticed his current ranking points (knowing what he was defending at the USO and Bangkok) that I realised just how awful he's been.

It really is strange. I don't know why he doesn't play in a few Challengers as well to try and get some confidence and belief back.

Now he's 2-19 with an opening round loss in Toronto against Jeremy Chardy.
I didn't time this well. lol
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Sir Panda
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 06:54 PM »
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Mark Petchey analysed his footwork and made some great points. His footwork is half hearted and makes it more difficult for him to dictate points. That and a lack of confidence.
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Emma Jean
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 01:28 AM »
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16 losses in a row. Watched him going down to Chardy today too though he was actually playing well at first. He lacks confidence in a massive way.

Great post, Maddy. It's always good to know about these talented players however small.
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teejay1
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 12:38 PM »
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Mark Petchey analysed his footwork and made some great points. His footwork is half hearted and makes it more difficult for him to dictate points. That and a lack of confidence.

The footwork issue must surely be linked with confidence though, wouldn't you say?

It's widely known that when a player is nervous the most obvious indication of that is that their feet don't move properly. Add in a total lack of belief, which is what seems to be Young's problem, and to my mind you have disaster.

What to do about it though? Surely nothing is better than winning for developing confidence, but he patently isn't winning, not at ATP Tour level.

I think you're right TMH. The Challenger circuit might be the way to go, to build some confidence by (hopefully) having some wins. It might also help him to focus more on the basics of his game, meaning that you know what they say, that for any player you have to get the basics right to be able to build from there.

That must be an awful situation for Young though, and not easy to come through on the Tour with it being so competitive.
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theycanbillme
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 12:52 PM »
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The issue for Donald Young is over the top domineering parents.
He needs a coach and the apron strings cut before its too late.
He's no longer 17 years of age.
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TheMadHatter
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 09:08 PM »
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Beat Leo Mayer today 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to record his first win since February.

Unfortunately for Donald it's a 48 man draw so he only picks up 10 ranking points for this win. But hopefully it'll give him some much needed confidence.
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Re: What has happened to Donald Young? « Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 10:04 PM »
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I remember Vince Spadea, on a record ATP losing streak of 21 matches, played Rusedski in round one of Wimbledon back in 2000... and won. Greg flew out that night for a long holiday.
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