The Buzz: How Young Lost His Shoes and Federer Found His Tactic






DONALD YOUNG – FROM STAN THE MAN TO UZBEKISTAN: The US Davis Cup team is traveling far away to face a new foe – Uzbekistan. And the team will have a new look.

Longtime singles leader John Isner will be staying home, as will the formidable Bryan brothers. Captain Jim Courier named his team: Donald Young (the US Open mini-hero), Jack Sock (big forehand and big faint at the Open) and Southern California veterans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson. Querrey and Johnson, who beat the Bryans in the first round of the Open and are still in the draw, will probably be our doubles team. It is the third Davis Cup appearance for Young, who lost key matches in San Diego and Great Britain, and the first Davis Cup appearances for Sock and Johnson. Uzbekistan will be led by No. 70 Dennis Istomin who won his first title in Nottingham in June, and No. 116 Lukas Lacko, who lost in the first round of the Open.

BURGER BOMB: Sometimes the promotional push just doesn’t work. On court today, out of nowhere, Brad Gilbert told winner Simona Halep to go out and have a burger at PJ Clarke’s. But the Romanian, who is into the quarters, said she would have to eat healthy until the end of the tourney.

Maria Sharapova‘s high-profile and pricey American Express promotion went flat when the Russian pulled out of the Open before it began. Worse yet was when Am Ex built a huge ad campaign around the mojo of the then-sizzling hot Andy Roddick. But Roddick’s mojo fizzled. He lost in the first round.

ROGER FEDERER – THE BIRTH OF A TACTIC: Federer’s new net-charging tactics have drawn attention and praise. But the tactic wasn’t exactly the product of some thoughtful strategic change. He explained the almost random way he came up with his new approach:

“When I arrived in Cincinnati, I went for a hit…[with] Benoit Paire…We were tired…[and] said, ‘Well, let’s still play some games’…We were just kidding around almost, and I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to chip and charge and just keep the points short. I’m tired. I want to get off the court.’ That’s when I started to run in and hit returns. I hit a couple for winners. They were ridiculous. He laughed, I laughed, [coach] Severin [Luthi] laughed.

Then I did it again in the next practice just to see if it actually would still work again. Then I tried it the next practice and it still worked. That’s when Severin said, ‘Well, what about using it in a match?’ I was like, ‘Really?’ He pushed me to keep using it and to not shy away from it on big moments, and not just because you don’t know how you [will] look with a full stadium. We were always talking about that tactic…[We] came up with that name, Sneak Attack by Roger, SABR. I don’t know. Call it Fed Attack, call it whatever you want, but I thought it was kind of funny…Clearly I’m very happy it worked so well in Cincy.”

THE GOOD AND BAD IN A LONG JOURNEY: Few have had more ups and downs than Donald Young, who was hyped as a teen, but has suffered daunting losing streaks and this week reached the fourth round of the Open.

Young told IT that the best part of his career has been “the whole journey. I got to learn about myself quite a bit and learn what I’m about, what I have in me, what I don’t, what I like and what I don’t like. Just…maturing quite a bit. To go from winning everything to not winning much to having some success to having no success. It’s been a lot of back and forth. Just the resilient part for me, because I could have easily stopped a while ago and done something else – gone back to school. I said a bunch of times I was going to do that. At the end of the day I don’t play tennis for a few days and I miss it. I love tennis. Without it I don’t know what I would do…What I disliked the most probably was losing those 14 matches in a row from [age] 15 to like 17 [when promoters gave him one wild card after another].

THE ASICS IN THE WHOLE: Someone in the locker room thought Donald Young was out of the tournament and cleared out his locker. So Young didn’t have any shoes, until ASICS stepped up and gave him a couple of pairs. Stan Wawrinka, who beat Young in the fourth round, said, “I’m lucky no one stole anything from my locker yet.”

THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUNG: He’s not young. At 26, Donald Young is just coming into his tennis prime, and has many a good year in front of him.


• “His hair looks to be graying as we speak.” – John McEnroe on Boris Becker, as Becker’s pupil Novak Djokovic lost the first set of his fourth-round match to Roberto Bautista-Agut.

• “[Bud] Collins was Google before it existed.” – Harvey Araton, on the venerable journalist for whom the US Open media center was named.

• “I don’t think we’re going to be…[having] helmet-to-helmet hitting each other or anything.” – Madison Keys, on whether tennis, in light of Genie Bouchard‘s injury, needs concussion protocols.

34, BUT WHO IS COUNTING? Federer is 34, and Serena and Feliciano Lopez will soon reach that age.

GO FIGURE: Novak Djokovic has reached the quarterfinals of 26 straight majors. But Federer holds the record for reaching consecutive Slam quarters: 36.

SAY IT ISN’T SO: Stan Wawrinka said he would no longer wear the celebrated shorts (which look like kitchen towels) that he wore en route to winning the French Open.