The Association of Tennis Players is reviewing a complaint made by Donald Young that his opponent, Ryan Harrison, used racially charged language during a tense match at the New York Open on Monday.
During a changeover following the first set, Harrison and Young were seen having a war of words on the court. There is no clear audio available, however, of the two players’ exchange.
Accusations on social media
After the tennis match, Young took to social media to blast Harrison.
“I’m shocked and disappointed, Ryan Harrison, to hear you tell me how you really feel about me as a black tennis player in the middle of our NY match,” Young wrote on Twitter early Tuesday morning.
“The accusations made by Donald Young tonight following our match are absolutely untrue,” Harrison wrote in response. “I’m extremely disappointed that someone would say this in reaction to a lost tennis match. Any video/audio will 100% clear me and I encourage anyone with the available resources to find it.”
Young’s girlfriend, Valentina Lee, jumped into the conversation to defend the US player and his accusations: “Ryan Harrison told [Young] ‘That’s what all you black people do’ after he was upset that [Young] cheered ‘C’mon’ to pump himself up.”
It is unclear if this is what Young asserts Harrison said to him during the New York Open match. However, Young reportedly refused to shake Harrison’s hand following the match and the two were seen having an exchange of words yet again.
Harrison blew off the press’ questions in regards to the spat immediately following the match, saying it was simply a disagreement.
Racism persists in tennis
Certainly, this is not a first for the Association of Tennis players. Venus and Serena Williams, our beloved Black women of athletic excellence, have grappled with racism throughout their careers.
Most recently, Serena spoke out against a fellow tennis players who called her (then) unborn child an “ugly, black baby” following her birth. But we’ve constantly seen epithets thrown her way in regards to her sex, her weight, her strength, and her body. Serena has been very vocal about the racial criticism and disrespect she continues to receive.
Even more recently, a white tennis player was suspended for yelling to a Black tennis player, “At least I know my dad” at Appalachia State college.
In regards to Young and Harrison, the Association of Tennis Players released a statement: [We] take any allegations of racial prejudice extremely seriously,” their spokesperson wrote according to TheDailyMail. “A further review of all video and audio recording from the match will take place as this matter is investigated further.’
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