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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gimelstob on Young; Williams Youngest US Pro Circuit Winner

Justin Gimelstob's most recent blog post on SI.com is devoted to Donald Young's past and future. There is always much lively debate on this topic, but I've always been among those who believe, as does Gimelstob, that Young's too talented to write off at the age of 17. Gimelstob discusses the need to manage expectations, and that's a lesson that Rhyne Williams, who is getting all sorts of attention in the Pro Circuit Futures stops now, will need to pay close attention to.

The "youngest" superlative is always going to raise expecatations, and thanks to Tim Curry of the USTA and Steve G, of stevegtennis.com, I was able to determine that Williams is the youngest U.S. male to win a Pro Circuit event in the United States. (The records of the circuit date back to 1998). Mario Ancic of Croatia was the youngest male ever when he won an event in Croatia at age 15. Williams is in Peoria this week, and the Journal Star filed this story on his head-turning win last week in Pittsburgh.

The Delaware State News spoke with Madison Brengle about her seven-week odyssey in Europe and filed this story.

I am still working on my Wimbledon review for The Tennis Recruiting Network, but this week I enumerate Twelve Tips for A Better Tournament Experience. They may seem like common sense, but I've been around enough tournament desks to know that even the most seasoned junior tennis player can need a refresher now and then.


Anonymous said...

I have never seen Williams play. Can someone please tell me what style player he is? Is he crafty like Donald Young, or more in the Sam Querrey mold, with huge weapons?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if Gimelstob is very positive on Young.

"He also is very quick and produces a lot of power, considering his slight 5-foot-9, 145-pound frame."

Well, I assume this means he doesn't really have much power. When you go out to compete, nobody gives you credit for your slight frame.

And Young is quite short in today's tennis tournaments. This probably means he will not have a great serve as a weapon.

I will be happy if Young can do well. That will prove short people can still compete.

"He shouldn't be deemed a failure if he doesn't win the U.S. Open by the time he's 18. "

Well, if it is not for some wild card, Young won't even be qualified for US Open. That is a huge difference from winning the US Open........at 18....

Anonymous said...

Curious...anyone know what happened to chase buchanan? He used to travel w/ williams and often beat him?

Anonymous said...

To comment on a couple of the questions....Buchanan is playing some Futures events as well, although I don't see his name as often as Williams. Buchanan won a couple rounds in qualifying, but then lost 3 in the third to Luke Shields. Buchanan is still amazing for a 16 year old, but it appears that Williams has opened up a material gap in development at this point. Williams is through to the quarters again in this week's Futures so another good result.

I saw Williams play a couple times in Kzoo last year, including a loss to Buchanan in the back draw. They were both playing up in the 18s as 15 year olds. Williams game may be evoloving but when I saw him he was all about hitting hard groundies, pretty good serve, not a lot of interest in coming in. He's a big kid - 6'2" or so and has a pretty volatile streak. He's got a bigger game than Buchanan, who is smaller and was relying on consistency, accuracy, his head and his legs. It will be fun to watch both of them develop.

The Dude said...

Williams is a solid baseliner with a big serve and forehand. He's a good competitor. His only fault is that he behaves like a tennis brat on the court, screaming and throwing racquets, etc. Like almost all juniors, he tends to be comfortable rallying from the baseline and doesn't attack the short balls as much as he should.

Anonymous said...

Gimelstop isn't being positive? I don't know how one comes to that interpretation.

"the 17-year-old is making impressive inroads"

"Young has made steady, if not spectacular progress in the lower-level events"

"He has too much talent, desire, intelligence and support to fail to become a very successful professional tennis player."

"I got the opportunity to practice with Young during Wimbledon and saw first-hand his tremendous skill and obvious gifts. He has a great feel for the game and a deft touch, attributes that are natural gifts. He also is very quick and produces a lot of power, considering his slight 5-foot-9, 145-pound frame."

"But he has obviously worked very hard on that aspect of his game and I think he is well on his way to turning his serve into a weapon."

"Young is going to have a great career -- he has a champion's skill and the charisma to entertain."

I'm pretty sure the comment about his power wasn't meant to imply that he's weak. Even if he meant that he's powerful for a player his size, that still doesn't translate to a player being weak. And considering that he followed up that comment with another about Young turning his serve into a weapon, I think it's clear he wasn't suggesting that Young has no power. I know that in one of his matches at Wimbledon, he had a top serving speed of 131.

I'm pretty sure the listed height and weight is outdated, by the way.

Man in the Moon said...

The fact that Young is on the small side is not the main problem.

Gimelstob & Courier fell into the same trap many Donald Young advocates have fallen into:

great, great hands, great speed, knows all the angels on the court, has most of the shots, improved his serve but still needs a lot of work on both 1st and 2nd-now for the bad news-

no guts, no heart, no fight and he quits (you can only go so far without those very special ingredients)- not only for a point but sometimes for games at a time.

This is not because of his age -- I have seen players as young as 12 who have gone on to become great top 20, even top 10 ATP pros and the fight,heart etc-that they had in the 12's and 14's went with them to the pros.

Unless Young can either find (fight, heart, no quit attitude)or develope it --

he has no chance-- the ATP will eat him for breakfast.

He has all the tangibles to be successful and that is probably why the "EXPERTS" think he will make a splash--

His tangibles were good enough in the juniors so he really did not have to work that hard.

It is a totally different ball game up with the big boys.


It remains to see if he can pull it off.


Anonymous said...

"Gimme a Break" as John Stossel of 60 Minutes likes to say-

A guy who turns 18 in a few days or weeks is techincally 17, but perhaps saying turning 18 shortly would be a more precise statement!!!

Anonymous said...

James Blake has managed to be a top 10 player despite a tendency to become discouraged and flustered when things starting going against him. So it is possible to be a successful pro despite being soft mentally.

Anonymous said...

Colette probably saw Young in person.

Could you comment on if Young is stil
about 5'9"?

Colette Lewis said...

I would put his height in the 5 foot 10 or 11 vicinity. He hadn't grown much if at all in the six months since I saw him in Tampa in January.

Man in the Moon said...

the comment below is way out of line:

James Blake has managed to be a top 10 player despite a tendency to become discouraged and flustered when things starting going against him. So it is possible to be a successful pro despite being soft mentally.

I watched Blake from the age of 11, all the way thru juniors, many many times-btw he didn't make a splash until the 18's when he grew about 6". I watched him play at Harvard and on the pro circuit, as well. He had fight all the way thru.

His father past away when Blake was in his early 20's and he was extremely close with him.

James had a horrific accident that almost left him a cripple. He had to endure a rehab program that was pure pain.

He was a fighter when he was small in the 12's, 14's, and 16's and is a fighter to this day.

Yes when he lost his dad, he had lost his focus as well-- He lost faith when he first came back from the injury--

Donald Young has never shown half the fortitude of Blake.

I believe Young thinks it is uncool to fight. At least that is the message he is sending, over and over again on the court.

Without the major ingredient (fight, heart, passion) unless you have skills that are far above the ATP Pro Player (which Donald does not have)it doesn't make one bit of difference about his hands, speed, angels, etc.

I am not saying he won't be ATP top 60 or 100, maybe if he can develop a much better serve and find some passion, heart, fight.

I am saying he will not be a ATP top 10 player- without HEART.

He needs a capable management team as well, which he does not have.

Anonymous said...

Out of line? Please. When you stop ripping kids for supposedly being gutless and heartless, then you can talk about me being out of line. Look, it's not exactly a secret that Blake has serious mental issues on the court. It's clear to anyone who's watched him with regularity. And I say that as a big fan of his. He's probably my favorite player.

I'm not disputing that Blake has faced a lot of adversity in his life, and he's shown great character in overcoming it. But on the tennis court he has a habit of turning negative when things go bad. It's common knowledge. Even Blake has admitted to it in the past. That's all I was referring to. My comment had nothing to do with his off-the-court mentality, which is obviously strong.

Anonymous said...



It will be interesting to see how Young will turn out.

AndrewD said...


I know you said 'pro event' but, for perspective, Vincent Richards was only 15 when he won the US Open doubles title.

Man in the Moon said...

I stand by every word I said.

If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it is a duck.

I am just calling it the way I see it, good, bad, or indifferent.

I also said he had great, great hands, speed and court smarts, etc.

I am not denying that Blake had problems on the court- as I stated-still there is no comparasion between Blake and Young.

And I still do not think Young has the stuff to be top 10 for the reasons I mentioned!!!

Let's see what happens.