Photo: Paul ZimmerDonald Young (USA)
Donald Young experienced a breakout year in 2011, rising from outside the world's Top 100 to finish the year at No. 39. He reached his first final on the ATP World Tour in Bangkok in September on the back of an appearance in the fourth round at the US Open.
It would be fair to say that 2012 hasn’t started the way he had imagined, picking up just two victories in 13 tournaments and most recently being dumped out of Roland Garros in his opener against Grigor Dimitrov by a score of 76(3) 61 61.
“Earlier in the year I went through a racket change and [kept] going back and forth. That's obviously a big thing to tinker with and wrap your head around,” the American No. 4 reflected after that match in Paris.
“It's not like these clay court tournaments are my favorite tournaments to play either. Most of them it was the first time I've played them, so it was a good experience.”
Looking ahead, however, Young has the opportunity to return to the site of one of the biggest achievements in his fledgling career when the Olympics is played on the Wimbledon grass courts where he won the Junior Grand Slam title in 2007.
“It is definitely a big deal to make the Olympic team and represent your country and be a part of all the festivities and see all the athletes. It will be a good experience for me. It's on grass at Wimbledon. I have good memories there, so looking forward to it.
“I've never played [the Olympics]," he added. "In 2008, I actually had a chance to play, but I was already in L.A. and it was kind of late.”
The Olympic Games will be a first opportunity for Young to represent his country on such an important stage having been chosen as only a practice partner in recent times for USA's Davis Cup team, with Ryan Harrison preferred to him alongside the more established names.
While 2012 may have begun in frustrating fashion for the 22-year-old, the opportunity is there for him to turn it around and follow in the footsteps of his countryman Mardy Fish who won a silver medal at Athens 2004 having entered the draw as a rank outsider.
“Right now it’s just about playing, getting the confidence back, winning matches, fighting until the end, and grinding out a few," said Young.
"You win the first one, and then you never know what happens. You get the confidence. You just got to keep on going out there and battling. It'll come for sure.
"Life is good... tennis is not how I want it, but you go through ups and downs. Just got to come out of 'em.”