A highlight from Tennis.com Podcast 12/1/21: Donald Young & Sabrina Santamaria


Santa Maria, the pride of SoCal. Welcome to the show. Thanks Kamala. Thanks for having me here. So when I meet people from that area, always am curious as to how you guys choose. Between SC, UCLA, Berkeley. How did you choose between those three schools? Because I know they all wanted you. Well, I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in Griffith Park. So I growing up, I always idolized USC, UCLA. I love that rivalry. And I thought I looked better in red to be honest. I'm just kidding. No, a lot of my friends went to SE and my best friend Kaitlyn Christian, she committed before me and I just loved the coaching staff, loved the girls on the team. Loved the school. And I just knew in my heart that that's where I wanted to be. Now was juju there when you were there as well? Yeah, we were the same year, so same recruiting class. So that class there, your group all three of you guys making a living on tour in doubles. And so, you know, when I talk to parents, I always think about programs that historically can actually put a player in college onto the tour. And SE you see LA like those schools are at the top of the list. Yeah, definitely. Tell us live tell us about life on double store because I think that from a viewer's perspective, we look at the grand slams. We look at to have a link, halo, you know, muguruza, right, but there's this whole other life like juju now in the final 8, right? You are making a living on tour, but it's a different living than something. Tell us about the grind. It's tough. I remember when we all first started out me, juju, Caitlyn Christian does red craft Jack. We were fresh out of college and decided, you know, we're going to stick to doubles and I remember we would all share hotel rooms going to Beijing going to Shenzhen anywhere in Europe. We would all share hotel rooms just to cut down on costs. We would fly budget airlines. We would if one of us lost first round, or if a couple of us lost first round, we would all pile into one room. You know, you got three girls sharing a king bed. It was a grind. We would take sandwiches from the breakfast. We were trying to just save as much money as we could because realistically doubles players don't make half as much as singles players. The prize money difference is huge. So for us starting out, we just really had to save as much as we could. And then once we started making grand slams, you know, going deep quarterfinals, and my finals here and there, you're starting to make a living. It's still not as much as single spears make, but we're making a good living as of right now. And you're gonna split it in half. And you gotta slid in half. Yeah. Now, did you split coaches because you know a lot of double players don't travel with a code? So I see the four of you guys kind of like working out with each other. And I'm always honestly impressed because when I look at people who actually know how to practice, I would say doubles players have more sort of ability to facilitate their own improvement in their own practice because they have to tell us about that. Yeah. I think it's definitely true. We have to do it ourselves because it's so hard to take a coach, especially when you're first starting out. It's so expensive. You have to pay for all their expenses and their fear and everything. So for us, we really learn to make our doubles practices as effective as they can be just simply because we don't have as much resources single players do. So we got really good at that. And we are our own coaches, essentially. At the moment, you know, now that we're starting to make a living a lot of us are starting to split coaches. So per week, you know, you just split with your doubles partners and that's definitely helping a lot. But in the beginning it was tough. Now how does that work? Because you might want a guy and she might want a guy like, I don't like that dude. He likes me. Weird vibe. How do y'all decide and agree? It's tough, I think, you know, you just gotta work out that compromise, honestly, doubles teams. It's really like a marriage, you know, you gotta compromise here and there and you just have to find the best fit for both players in order to make it work. Or I've seen teams have their separate coaches and do well with having their own coaches, and that's what works, but I think definitely just gotta find the right fit for you. So speaking of coaches, your dad was your coach, and your dad is a tennis coach. Tell us about how you got started. Was it like mandatory in your house? Like, if you're gonna eat dinner in this house, you're gonna play tennis. Yeah, it was definitely I grew up big tennis family, my parents immigrated. My dad immigrated from Panama and my mom immigrated from the Philippines. And they actually met on a public tennis court in LA. So tennis is just kind of run in the bloodline and when I was born, they just put a racket in my hand as soon as I could grip and my dad would tie a tennis ball to our ceiling in our apartment and just have me whack balls back and forth when I was four years old. And that was his dream to mold me into a tennis player. And his goal was always to get me to college, and then the pro thing kind of came from within myself, but he's been my coach since I was in diapers. So we have a really good relationship. He knows when to turn the coaching on when to turn it off. One to be dad, so it's worked out really well. So he doesn't travel, which is I, because I've never once seen him on the road, I always see him like in the corner with that like raggedy SE hat. Like sweat from like four years and I'm like, who do it in the corner with that raggedy SE hat on? Yeah, that's sad today. I'm like, oh, okay, okay. But I'd never see him on the road. He comes to all the grand slams typically. And sometimes the local ones like San Jose sometimes. But what the pandemic has been really tough because travel wise and everything like that. But I think he'll come to Australia, hopefully. It's a long trip, but his back is starting to hurt. But yeah, hopefully most of the grand slams, but as soon as the pandemic kind of winds down a bit, then it will be much easier for him to travel more. So when you graduated, you graduated, right? Yeah. So you graduated college and you know it probably wasn't a sure thing that you would make it on tour. Yeah. 'cause you probably didn't think you'd have the single success. It wasn't like top ten in the country in singles, whatever. So how did you decide, you know what? I know it's going to be tough. Was there like a coach that said, hey saps, you can make it, right? Or were you like, you know what? Let me give myself 8 ones out there. Let me take ten grand to see if I can do this. Yeah. And then if it doesn't work then I'll go take it down. What made you think you could believe? Well, you could do it. Definitely my parents have been the driving force. The whole time after college. But I would say there are a couple of people. Definitely a couple coaches that come to mind that really helped me right after college, Dustin Taylor, and Stephen amortized. When I was fresh out of college, they were a big college guys too. They really try and help college players, especially once they finish college. So they definitely helped me have the belief in myself. But my dad, again, it always comes back to my dad. He always believes in believes in me and pushes me. So those I think were the main people that tried to help me after college and here I am,

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