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The Monitor: USTA Futures Event Presents Training Opportunity For Young

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Donald Young McAllen FuturesDonald Young is interviewed by the media Monday after defeating Yu Chang 6-3, 6-2 at the McAllen Country Club to advance to the qualifiers round of eight.

McALLEN - Fifty of the players who entered the 2009 Dr. Raul Marques and Dr. Rosario Parra Men's Futures of McAllen singles qualifying tournament came to the Rio Grande Valley to swing, sprint and dive their way to another gold star on their tennis resum├ęs.

Donald Young doesn't need any more gold stars - he just needs playing time.

Young, 19, is already a professional and plays in ATP Tour events.

With an ATP world ranking of No. 146 (130 when he entered), he stands 240 spots ahead of his next-best competitor, Vladimir Obradovic, at the tournament hosted by McAllen Country Club. The McAllen Futures provides him with a chance to get some much-needed match play.

"I haven't been playing that many matches on the tour," said Young, who was born in Chicago and lives in Atlanta. "You win two matches, you're in the quarters. You don't get that many (matches) because you're playing a lot of high-level players. I need to get some confidence, so I come down and play where I can win some matches."

McAllen Country Club pro Arturo Czerwiak, the event's main organizer, said that it's nice to have a player of Young's caliber in the tournament.

"It's an honor for us and the tournament and the USTA in McAllen," Czerwiak said. "It's an honor and we're proud to have him here."

After defeating Houston native Henry Fowler 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday's second round, Young beat China's Yu Chang 6-3, 6-2 on Monday to advance to the qualifiers round of eight. Despite losing in straight sets, Chang gave Young a good workout, forcing the pro to sprint end to end on a few points.

"He had nothing to lose and he came out," Young said of Chang. "I don't get to see these players too much, so this is where all the good players come from anyway. You have to start at somewhere, so this is where they're starting."

Before turning pro, Young was one of the world's best junior players, winning the Australian Open junior tournament in 2005 and the Wimbledon junior event in 2007. In 2005, he became the youngest year-end world No. 1 junior player at 16 years, five months, as well as the first African American male to hold that honor.

So far in 2009, Young's best showing was in late January when he lost to fellow-American Vincent Spadea in the quarterfinals of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Carson, Calif. Young hopes that the match play he gets at the McAllen Futures will help him prepare for the BNP Paribas Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event running March 12 through 23 at Indian Wells, Calif.

"This year I want to break top 50 ATP and just keep playing well and get better," he said. "I guess I want to improve - that's the biggest thing."

The McAllen Futures started this past Saturday and runs through Sunday. There is no admission for rounds through Friday. Tickets for Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's finals are $10. The weekend package is $15.

Stephen K. Lee covers sports for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4442.


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