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Pacific Life Open: Donald Young, March 15, 2008

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March 15, 2008


Donald Young


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 think happened.

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 tennis.

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 there.
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 Atlanta?
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 stuff.

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 tactic?
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 left-hander?
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 with, also.

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 to today?
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 advantage?
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 in Portland?
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.


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