US ten­nis star de­nies claim of racism on court

Nelson Mail - - SPORT - TEN­NIS

The first day of the inaugural New York Open ten­nis tour­na­ment was em­broiled in con­tro­versy when Don­ald Young ac­cused Ryan Har­ri­son of mak­ing a racial­ly­charged com­ment to­ward him dur­ing their heated match ear­lier this week.

Young, an African-Amer­i­can player, made the claim on his Twit­ter ac­count shortly af­ter mid­night Tues­day, but did not spec­ify what he heard.

Har­ri­son de­nied the claim, call­ing it ‘‘com­pletely false.’’

Fol­low­ing the match, which Young lost, he wrote, ‘‘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 was not avail­able for com­ment Tues­day and did not is­sue a state­ment. But Har­ri­son said he hoped a record­ing of the in­ci­dent could be found be­cause, he said, it would vin­di­cate him.

‘‘There is zero chance I said any­thing like he is claim­ing,’’ Har­ri­son said. ‘‘Please, if any­one has a video or a record­ing, please points be­hind his first serve to ex­tend his un­beaten record against Lopez to 3-0.

The sev­enth-ranked Gof­fin, who beat Ni­co­las Mahut in straight sets in his pre­vi­ous match, will next face sixth-seeded To­mas Berdych.

Sec­ond-seeded Grigor Dim­itrov beat Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the first round and Robin Haase won an all-Dutch con­test against Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-2. Dim­itrov and Haase were joined in the sec­ond round by qual­i­fier Pierre-Hugues Her­bert, who ad­vanced af­ter Richard Gas­quet re­tired while trail­ing 3-1. bring it for­ward.’’

The ATP, the governing body of the men’s pro­fes­sional ten­nis tour, is con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent, and ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with it, no ev­i­dence had sur­faced by Tues­day evening to sup­port Young’s ac­cu­sa­tion.

‘‘The ATP takes any al­le­ga­tions of racial prej­u­dice ex­tremely se­ri­ously,’’ a state­ment is­sued by the or­gan­i­sa­tion said.

The in­ci­dent stemmed from a con­tentious ar­gu­ment that oc­curred dur­ing a changeover in the first set of Mon­day’s match, which Har­ri­son won, 6-3, 7-6 (4). It es­ca­lated to the point that the um­pire had to sep­a­rate them.

Ryan Har­ri­son

Don­ald Young

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