Donald Young defeated Andy Murray (7-6(4) 6-3) this past weekend at the BNP Paribas open. It was a stunning and thrilling match. It was the most talked about match in the first weekend of the tournament. Young at one point in his life was thought of as the next great American. This being said, there are a lot of people who have received high expectations and who haven't been able to live up to them.
Young, at one point in his life, was thought of as the next great American. He was one of the best junior players in the world and was at one point ranked higher that Marin Cilic on the Juniors tour. Now Cilic is ranked 20, and Young is 143 in the world. Young's highest ranking to date is 73. He has only managed to win 14 matches and has 46 losses. In fact, Young does not even hold a title to his name.
That is a far cry from great in a country that has so often had great players. America is missing players like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Those are the people who Young was supposed to be. Granted, Young is good; he is far better than most people will be, but he was supposed to be great, and those expectations also hinder the fact that he is improving.
BNP Paribas is one of the most important tournaments that is played all year. Any win at the tournament would be huge and can propel a player to the top. Just look at Ivan Ljubicic; a win at this tournament last year pushed him into the top 20. While not everyone can win this tournament, just advancing will give any player a strong push in the right direction.
On Saturday, Young gave America hope. He beat Andy, the fifth best player in the world, at one of the most important tournaments of the year. Murray is one of the top players in the game and was coming off a tough loss in the finals of the Australian open, and was looking for a good tournament.
However, it was Young that got off in the right direction. He played a strong match and was probably the best tennis performance Young has ever put up on the tour. His emotion at the end of the match proved just how much this match meant for him. It was a confidence builder; it was a match to improve, to propel him to the top. He was hitting hard, overpowering Murray.
The crowd also seemed to sense it. They came out to cheer on their fellow American, and if anybody was rooting for Murray, it could not be heard. When Murray missed his last ball, the crowd erupted, and Young let his emotion out. Everybody sensed the importance of the win. They all knew it was the biggest win of his career.
But reality set in for Young. This was just a second round match, and he needed to keep working, so that he would be able to play Tommy Robredo on Monday. A third round win at Indian Wells would have been huge. Unfortunately, Young went out and lost 6-0, 6-4. He will have to keep working, but the fact of the matter is he is still young and only has room to improve. It seems likely that this will be able to propel him.
However, Young has often not stepped up to expectations. This time is different. He has a win against a top player which will only help him realize how much potential he truly has.
Do you believe this will propel him to the place many once predicted he would go?