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ATP investigating ‘allegations of racial prejudice’ at NY Open

Ryan Harrison meets Donald Young after he wins

Ryan Harrison meets Donald Young after he wins the first-round singles match 6-3, 7-6 at the New York Open at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Association of Tennis Professionals is investigating “allegations of racial prejudice” after an incident between Ryan Harrison and Donald Young Monday at the New York Open at Nassau Coliseum, the ATP said in a statement.

The two players exchanged words during a changeover in the first set and after the match, which Harrison won, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Young, who is black, later tweeted his disapproval toward Harrison, who denied that the exchange had racial overtones.

“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’s tweet said.

Harrison responded, saying, “The accusations made by Donald Young tonight following our match are absolutely untrue,” he tweeted. “I’m extremely disappointed that someone would say this in reaction to a lost tennis match. Any video/audio will 100% clear me.”

A statement from an ATP spokesperson said the incident is being reviewed.

“The ATP takes any allegations of racial prejudice extremely seriously,” the statement said. “A further review of all video and audio recording from the match will take place as this matter is investigated further. No further comment will be made until the completion of the investigation.”

Harrison spoke to media on Tuesday after he and Steve Johnson defeated Merrick’s Scott Lipsky and India’s Divij Sharan, 7-5, 6-3, in the doubles round of 16.

“My statement was pretty accurate to what I’m going to be able to say now,” Harrison said. “I obviously wanted to say it face to face and not just over a message. The allegations are just not true. I didn’t say it. I’m dissapointed that Donald said that I did. I’m not sure why he would say that. It’s saddening because I’ve known him for a long time. But I know what I said. I know that I didn’t say that. I would never say something like that, because it’s just not in the makeup of who I am.”

When asked what was said during the match, Harrison said, “We were going back and forth about the match and, in a little bit of a trash-talking way, we were just talking about previous matches. That was the way that the conversation was taking place. It wasn’t all nice words. We were definitely talking a little bit of trash to each other. But it was in no way a racial comment. It was all about tennis and matches and that particular match we were in.”

It’s possible for Harrison and Young to meet again in a second-round doubles match.

With Jordan Lauterbach

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