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May 29, 2014

Donald Young


D. YOUNG/F. Lopez
6‑3, 7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  It seems a little bit out of nowhere, you haven't played too much on clay, haven't had much success here.  Now you're in the third round, played a quality player straight sets.  Talk a little bit about what's going on.
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, it feels good.  I have been playing well all year, but I didn't play much on clay, so it wasn't like I had a chance to maybe lose a little confidence on clay or know what's playing well and what's not playing well.  I mean, I played last week and lost in the quallies.  The guy played really well, kind of slapped me off the court.
I didn't take it too negative because it was my first tournament on clay, I won a couple of matches, that was the goal.
To beat a quality player like Feliciano is awesome as well.  And definitely to be in the third round is something I've never done.  I have actually never won a match outside of the U.S. on red clay.  So to win two here at the French Open, it means a lot.

Q.  How much do you actually play on clay?  I mean, in the U.S. there is a push to build more clay courts and to practice more on it.  But how much are you actually exposed to it regularly?
DONALD YOUNG:  Green clay, it's what we have.  It's definitely not the same.  It's not close.
I played three challengers on green clay in the States, but I don't get to play on it often.  I kind of try to stay away from it, to be honest.
When I get on it, it's all right.  It just takes a little time to get used to it.  The green is definitely different from the red, and I prefer the red to the green.
And we don't have that at home except for Houston.  It's not exactly the same as this.

Q.  Is part of doing better here is you feel more comfortable in bigger setting, bigger matches, you get up for it more?
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, actually, I like the big stage a little more than the challengers and everywhere else.  I feel like I play better against higher level players.
But, yeah, I just feel like I put the work in and I'm playing well.  I'm just letting my game flow and do what it does.

Q.  I kind of wanted to ask you about your years in Chicago.  Looked up a quote from Obama that said, Let me tell you something, I'm from Chicago, I don't break.  Just talk about your years there, tennis in Chicago.  Does that help you in some way?  Or just talk about it.
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, I mean, that's where the foundation was laid for my tennis was in Chicago.  I was there from birth to 14.  So, I mean, most of my tennis and strokes and learning was there.
Being from there, it's awesome being from there.  The weather, I don't miss.  The people, I do.
But, yeah, Chicago is a great city.  Yeah.  That's just where my start was.  So I will definitely have a lot of fond memories from there.

Q.  If I'm correct, I think Midtown maybe helped you out a little bit.  Did you play on public courts?  Was it kind of tough out there?  Talk about that.
DONALD YOUNG:  Definitely, I played at Hyde Park Athletic Club and I played at Midtown.  They were so nice to give me like a scholarship and let me play there, because I couldn't afford to play there on my own.  I hit on some groups on Mondays and Wednesdays.  I think I got one private a week.
It was great.  Allen Schwartz was great for that.  My parents worked at Hyde Park, so I was able to get free court time there.  Definitely in the summer you hit outdoors, all the public parks, where just you could find a court open.

Q.  The scene at Hyde Park, was it pretty intense or a good scene?
DONALD YOUNG:  It was good.  I had a lot of guys that were around my age that played and at that time we were all around the same level.  I had a lot of people to play with and go to tournaments with.  It was great.  It was like you just kind of grew together.  It was awesome.

Q.  Taylor Townsend had a big breakout here.  Talk about when you first met her, and that's probably earlier than anyone else at this tournament.
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, I have known her since she was born, since she was just in the cradle and all that.  I would be over there.  Her mom would ‑‑couple times I was sick.  I had to go over there after like school, and my dad was working.  I'd go over there.
Definitely I have known her forever.  I seen her grow up and it's great to see her playing well and winning matches.  And to be at this level, it's awesome.  I'm really excited for her.

Q.  Have you talked to her at all about handling this sort of spotlight?  You have had a lot of experience at that and she's sort of getting started.
DONALD YOUNG:  No, I mean, we talk a little bit.  She asks a few questions here and there.  But she has a good team around her now.  We just talk about life and things.  She is actually staying at our hotel.  So we will sit down for breakfast, and we'll talk about things in the past and her getting in trouble sometimes.  That's good (smiling).

Q.  What's the connection?  How did the families know each other?
DONALD YOUNG:  Well, my parents and her parents have been friends since before I was born, and they were born obviously ‑‑my parents started her playing tennis.  They were like the first coaches and kind of worked like that, and they were always around.
It's almost like ‑‑it's more of, her and her sisters, are mother like brother/sister type thing, yeah, than friends because I have known them forever.

Q.  Speaking of another talent, have you had any contact?  Do you know much about Francis Tiafoe?
DONALD YOUNG:  I do know Francis.  Not great or well, but the times I have seen him we have spoken and we talk a little on Facebook.
It's great what he's doing, as well.  I'm really happy for him.  I heard he will be here in the juniors, so I might get to see him.  I'm over there in the Suzanne Lenglen locker room, and I think that's their locker room.

Q.  Having been through the hype machine a bit, what kind of advice have you given him or would you give him?
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, I mean, everybody is different.  Everyone takes their own path.  But just to, you know, stay focused, stay what you're doing, maybe not put yourself out there too early.  I mean, try, if it doesn't work, keep working on your game.  Obviously he's doing something well now, so just keep doing it.

Q.  Can you give us a feel on your thoughts of your progression to this point in your career?  Are you happy where you're at?  Had you hoped to be further?  Just a general look.
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah, I mean, would I love to be further along by now?  Yeah, for sure.  But it didn't happen.
Now I'm starting to play better.  Not better but more consistent than before.  Definitely.  I mean, whenever it's coming or it comes, I'm going to be there and ready and happy it happens.
So I'm not going to be mad it didn't happen earlier, because, you know, that's in the past and I can only deal with what's in the future.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts why it hasn't happened?  Do you think like you were, you know, too much hype around you or things like that?  Any thoughts on that?
DONALD YOUNG:  Hindsight is 20/20.  The hype came because at the time I was doing things no one else had done.  It's the first for everything.  You don't know how to deal with, the first for everyone around.
Looking at it again, you might do some things different, but, you know, I can't do it now.  If I had it over to do again, I probably would do a few things different.

Q.  So do you feel a lot of pressure trying to be the last person with Chicago roots that's left here in the draw in the French Open?
DONALD YOUNG:  No, no, definitely not.  I'm just happy.  As far as Taylor can go, as far as I can go, would be great.  If she goes further than me or I her, I won't be mad, I will just be happy, because it's just people doing well, Americans doing well, friends doing well.

Q.  About the match today, what do you think was really working for you?  He seemed pretty frustrated.  What were your keys today?
DONALD YOUNG:  I think I served pretty well.  I kept him off balance quite a bit and was able to get it high to his backhand.  He has a one‑hand, so it's a little tougher above the shoulders.  Moved him well, and I took my opportunities and was quite aggressive until that one game at 5‑4 in the second.  I got a little nervous.

Q.  You said if you had it to do over again you might do a few things differently.  Could you tell us what those things are?
DONALD YOUNG:  Yeah.  You know, at one time I was a lot better than a lot of my peers and you can rest on your laurels a little bit.  I maybe didn't work as hard as I could have and gotten better and trained harder.
Definitely seeing the way the outcome was, I would have taken a few fewer wildcards to tour events, ATP Tour, taken a couple, like the ones I won, like Kalamazoo to get into the Open, I would have taken those for sure.  Everyone who wins that tournament gets the opportunity to do that.
Definitely, and, work harder, maybe go somewhere just to, kind of like a college environment, not college but somewhere they train year‑round, a bunch of people trying to do the same thing as well on a more regular basis.
Apart from that, I wouldn't change anything.

Q.  Has your training setup changed since Australia?
DONALD YOUNG:  No, it hasn't changed much.  Craig Boynton is helping out, along with my parents still obviously as the main coaches.  You know, USA has been great.  I have spent the off season in LA again.  Finding guys to hit with, it feels good, and I'm feeling great right now.

Q.  It's been a surprisingly good tournament for the American men by a lot of standards, because there is only one guy in the top 50 now but there's going to be three, you, John, and whoever wins between Steve and Jack today.  Do you feel this coming, or is it something that's sort of surprising to you as it is to us?
DONALD YOUNG:  I think it's great.  The guys are playing well.  I think, yeah, they are playing well and everyone is kind of knocking at the door.  I think it's great.  I mean, obviously the draw helps out a lot in tournaments like this.  Everybody can easily play a top 10 guy except for John and go out.
The draws have really opened up with Steve and Jack.  I think with Haas going out and it's definitely opened up they have a potential to make the fourth round.  Wawrinka going out in my half, it's not like it's an insurmountable task for me to make the fourth round as well.
But I'm going to take it one match at a time and see how it goes.

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