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'Pretty cool' - 16-year-old revels in US Open debut

Zachary Svajda initially looked on course to become the youngest winner of a singles match in New York since Michael Chang.

File pic.
File pic.
Image: EMPICS Sport

16-YEAR-OLD Zachary Svajda cherished an “awesome” professional debut in the US Open first round on Monday as he became the youngest player to feature in the men’s draw since Donald Young in 2005.

Svajda looked on course to become the youngest winner of a singles match in New York since Michael Chang reached the fourth round of the 1988 tournament at age 16.

However, the USTA Boys’ Nationals champion struggled with cramp after claiming the first two sets against 37-year-old Paolo Lorenzi of Italy and eventually lost 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

“That was pretty cool. I’ve never experienced any of that in my life,” Svajda said of fans chanting his name during the match.

“I loved, it was awesome and a great atmosphere out there.”

I had full body cramp during the third set. It was the first time I’ve had it,” he added. “It was tough but I was just trying to stand up.

“I was just going to finish it out even if I couldn’t stand or move. I wouldn’t default. 

“I thought the whole match I had chances to win even though I was down. It didn’t go my way but it’s fine, I’ll take it as learning and see the positives.”

Svajda, who only turned professional this month and will compete in the junior tournament too, also recalled his hitting sessions with Roger Federer at Indian Wells.

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“That was awesome, great guy. I was pretty nervous in the beginning but then after I was used to it I guess.”

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