PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 15, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations. Can you talk about that second set?
You had a chance to serve it out.
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, it was obviously very windy, but
definitely nerves played a big part. I know I was really
nervous. Just got the ball back in play, went for a little
too much, got nervous and missed some shots. That's what I
Q. What did you do to kind of keep your mindset straight
for that third set?
DONALD YOUNG: Well, you know, I took a bathroom break and
tried to refocus and think about the things that I did do
well, because usually I would get really upset and just
pretty much not be there mentally at all for the third set,
and I didn't want that to happen again.
So I tried to, you know, go back into myself, and play good
Q. Could you talk about dealing with the conditions? You
could really hear the flags flapping and people were hitting
unusual shots, to say the least.
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, it was tough. I'm just happy to be the
one with the W at the end of the day. I don't really know
how balls were going in. You couldn't really hit your shot,
you know, with the serve. You had to just spin it in most of
the time. It was really weird.
Q. Was that anything like when you played on the Easter
Bowl, because in the Easter Bowl it's really windy and
there's nothing really to shield the wind?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, Palm Springs, this part of California is
definitely windy, definitely like the Easter Bowl. I'm just
a little better player.
Q. You've really paid your dues in the pro tour. When did
things start turning around for you? What happened that
started turning things around?
DONALD YOUNG: Well, '06 -- '05 wasn't that tough for me. I
was still No. 1 in the juniors, I finished No. 1. '06 was
toughest for me. I didn't win an ATP match.
I was struggling with the junior matches, people I used to
beat all the time. Confidence was at an all-time low. Didn't
really want to play anymore.
Kind of just, you know, my parents kept telling me he I
could do it. I didn't really believe them at the time, but
they're my parents so you have to listen. But, yeah, and
then I decided I was going to give like '07, you know, stop
hanging out with the friends and going out. Just wanted to
be home and hang out.
So I decided I was going to give like a full year trying
really hard to go anywhere I needed to play and not worry
about coming home and hanging out with the friends.
First tournament I played was a Futures. I made the final,
and that gave me a lot of confidence. I had chances to win,
and after that it was like quarterfinals every week. I won
my first doubles tournament, and just kept going on from
And then this summer, last summer was awesome. I won my
first challenger, and then I won a round at Pilot Pen. Then
the US Open was obviously a big confidence booster. Did
pretty well after that.
Q. You feel you had to sacrifice your social life perhaps
to do this?
DONALD YOUNG: I did, definitely. I had to do that, yeah, it
was tough. Girls, hanging out with the friends their last
year before they went to college. It was definitely tough,
but this is what I wanted to do as my profession, so I had
to give it my full attention.
Q. What's the most fun part of the social scene in
DONALD YOUNG: Hanging out with the girls, I would say.
(laughter.) Just hanging out, you know, having fun. Driving
around, watching movies, you know. Pretty much regular
Q. Your friends understand sort of the decision you had
to make to go forward?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, definitely. They like me at home, but
then the reason -- you know, they all, like, they want to do
what I do because of some of the things I've accomplished,
so they were really pumped up.
Most of the time people want to hang out with you based on
what you're doing. When you stop doing that they're not
really hanging out with you as much, but hopefully have good
enough friends where that's not the case.
Q. Did you call anyone home in Atlanta to see if anyone
was affected by the tornado yesterday?
DONALD YOUNG: Oh, no, just the staff at my parents' club,
you know, was just talking about a couple buildings
downstairs, glass broke. But other than that, no.
Q. Everybody's okay? Nobody was injured or anything?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, no one I know was injured or they've
told me of.
Q. What's the club?
DONALD YOUNG: South Fulton Tennis Center in College Park.
Q. Is it much more fun now because you figure you can
play with these guys, you really believe you can?
DONALD YOUNG: Definitely winning matches is a lot better
than losing them. I'm happy I'm starting to win matches. I'm
trying to get my record back to even. It's a long way to go,
but, you know, hopefully I'll get there.
Q. Looking back, what was it like when you were, what was
it, 10 or how many rounds in a row you lost?
DONALD YOUNG: I think it was around 11.
Q. What were you thinking in those days?
DONALD YOUNG: Just when am I going to win one? That was
pretty much it. When was I going to win one. Come on.
Please. Guys I was beating, they were winning ones and I
wasn't. It was really disappointing, but I figured out how
to win one, and I did.
Q. Was the lowest point Miami? I remember we talked to
you, and it was kind of heart wrenching there.
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, Miami hurt a lot. 0-0. I've never lost
0-0 in my life, and then I lost 0-0 at one of the biggest
tournaments I played. That wasn't too confidence boosting at
all. Actually shut it down pretty bad.
And then on TV I got talked about bad, you know. And then he
loses 0-0 to Blake. It just looked really bad, so it hurt my
feelings a lot.
Q. How did you put that in the rear view mirror? You
mentioned your parents obviously having a big effect.
DONALD YOUNG: It pretty much messed up the rest of the year
until I think November quarterfinal in my first challenger
and won two matches in a row. That helped out a lot, because
I beat Bobby Reynolds. He was a really good player. He was
No. 9 in the world. That felt like a big step for me.
Q. You go up against a pretty good player next. You've
never played Rafa. What are your thoughts? Pretty imposing?
DONALD YOUNG: I'm happy to be in round 32. I see him play a
lot. He's obviously another lefty. He's 2 in the world for
so long, so I'm just going to go out there and have fun and
play the best I can and see what happens.
Q. What's it like playing another lefty?
DONALD YOUNG: It's different, you know. Well, growing up I
played with lefties all the time, but lately I have not been
playing with lefties very much. It's different. Different
spin. They hit it the way you hit it. It's like playing
myself, and I wouldn't want to play myself.
Q. If you were playing yourself, what would be your first
DONALD YOUNG: I don't think I could say that. I mean --
(laughter.) I don't know if I can -- first tactic? Just play
straight up, I would say.
Q. You happy to play Lopez today, because he's a
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, that was difficult. Like my forehand
crosscourt is usually to a righty's backhand. It's to his
forehand, his best shot, so that was something I had to work
Q. What kind of things did you learn when you played him
at the US Open that you applied today?
DONALD YOUNG: He liked to go wide on a lot of the big points
on his serve, and that was basically, you know, pretty much
it. And he would come in every once in a while. He had a big
serve, big forehand, but it was nothing that was too
shocking for me today.
Q. But did you make any big adjustments from the US Open
DONALD YOUNG: Tried not to get as down on myself when I
would lose games or a lot of points in a row. Tried to cut
that down a little bit.
Q. Querrey just won the tournament in Vegas. Does that
say anything to you? Does that give you any thoughts of
confidence? He's an American.
DONALD YOUNG: Definitely. I mean, young Americans winning
tournaments, I'm excited, happy for him. Kei won Del Rey,
you know, another guy I played juniors with. Definitely want
them to do it. You just want to keep getting better.
Try to do one point, one day, one match at a time right now,
and hopefully I will get to that point.
Q. What do you think you have to do against Nadal? What
will be the fun part, or what will be the tactical part to
have a shot?
DONALD YOUNG: Hopefully the spin is not jumping over my
head. (laughter.) But he's really fast, gets a lot of balls
back. I have to be just consistent and be aggressive. Just
try to play my game.
Q. Did you see Tsonga play him at the Australian?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, I watched that. Everybody was up
watching that thing.
Q. Do you think in a way all those losses somehow were
good for you?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, it was definitely a learning experience.
I wouldn't say 11 was good for me, but, you know, I did it.
I think anybody that was anyone in the world juniors at the
time would take the opportunities offered.
It wasn't like I was kind of asking for them. They were
offered from some of the tournaments. I took them and took
my lumps. Wasn't expecting to win, but definitely would say
I learned a lot from the losses.
Q. What's the two biggest things you're going to have do
to take another big leap? You've taken a nice leap now. What
do you have to do?
DONALD YOUNG: Stay in the match probably mentally the whole
time and not have these ups and downs and emotional highs
and lows, because most of the top players have that, I know.
You have to focus and play well day in and day out, not one
good day, one bad day. That doesn't win tournaments.
Q. The ATP Tour is kind of a tough club to get into. It's
sort of hard to feel that you belong. You got a lot of
wildcards and people were talking. Do you feel now that you
belong? Do you feel part of the tour?
DONALD YOUNG: Definitely I felt that after I won my first
match. I was officially, you know, welcomed or whatever,
because the guys, you know, I would get a message from Andy
or James, congratulations on the match.
Definitely felt good, so when I won my first match I
officially felt I was an ATP player.
Q. You weren't on the Davis Cup team, but you were on the
squad working with them. How important was that to your
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, I would say definitely. '07, that helped
me a lot. It was April the first time against Spain. I think
it was the quarterfinals they played Spain in Winston-Salem.
Patrick called me and invited me.
To be part of the team, they really welcomed me and had fun.
Obviously they haze you a little, but it's all part of that.
Once they do that they say you're part of the team, so it
really made me feel like I was playing. I felt like it had a
big part to do with it, also.
It helped my confidence hitting with the guys, that high of
a level every day for a week.
Q. Do you wish you could have played the dead rubber up
DONALD YOUNG: All those people watching? I mean, I guess so.
If they would have asked me to I would have, but I didn't
think I was going to be raising my hand.
Q. Hazing, did they make you sing or anything? What did
you have to do?
DONALD YOUNG: Just, you have to say a couple words at the
dinner that you have to kind of throw in there.
Q. What did you --
DONALD YOUNG: I'm not saying the words.