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Donald Young apologizes for rant on Twitter

The 21-year-old tells two members of the U.S. Tennis Assn., which he blasted in an obscenity-laced message last week, that he is sorry. In another tweet, he also apologized for the language but not the sentiment.

April 25, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Donald Young reteurns a shot against Andy Murray during their match at the BNP Paribas Open.
Donald Young reteurns a shot against Andy Murray during their match at the… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Donald Young, a 21-year-old tennis player from Chicago who has been treated as a rising star by the United States Tennis Assn., apologized Monday evening to at least two members of the organization in response to his obscenity-laced rant last week on Twitter.

The apologies followed comments Monday from Patrick McEnroe, general manager of player development for the USTA, who was angry over the tweet.

"Quite frankly, I'm offended," McEnroe said in a conference call with reporters. "I'm offended for the people on our team that have worked very hard to try to help Donald. … I think Donald should apologize for what he said."

Young on Friday used two obscenities to lash out at the USTA in a tweet after he lost to 176th-ranked Tim Smyczek in the final of a USTA qualifying event to determine which American man would receive a wild-card spot into the main draw of next month's French Open.

One of the few African Americans ranked in the top 200 in the world, Young eventually apologized for the language of his message but, he said, "not the sentiment." By Saturday, his Twitter account had been shut down.

Young's agent, Carlos Fleming of IMG, did not respond to a request for comment.

The two USTA members who received apologies are coaches David Nainkin and Jay Berger, who were mentioned by McEnroe as having spent significant time working with Young.

Nainkin, who also coaches Sam Querrey of Thousand Oaks and who has coached Young at the USTA Center in Carson, said Monday night that Young called and told him he was sorry for the comments and that Young appreciated the help Nainkin has given him.

"He was sincere," Nainkin said.

Berger also felt Young was sincerely sorry and said Young told him he had also apologized to McEnroe.

"What Donald said really hurt, to be honest," Berger said. "And sometimes you have to earn things. This was one of the easiest paths to a Grand Slam. Basically, Donald had to beat a guy ranked 176th in the world. Maybe what he said was out of anger but it still hurt."

Young's parents, Donald Sr. and Illona Young, have been the primary coaches for their son since he turned pro at 15.

This isn't the first time Young had taken to Twitter in anger. Last summer, McEnroe, as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, selected 18-year-old Ryan Harrison to fill the final spot on the team even though, at the time, Harrison was ranked No. 220 in the world and Young was No. 100.

"Why Harrison gets chosen for the 4 man davis cup team before me???" Young said on Twitter.

McEnroe selected Harrison shortly after the 18-year-old had upset 15th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic at the U.S. Open.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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