American Teenager’s Tennis Game Shaped by Argentina’s Clay

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Jared Donaldson, ranked No. 122 in the world, defeated No. 12 David Goffin in the first round of the United States Open.

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Uli Seit for The New York Times

When Courtney Donaldson arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires for the first time, in January 2012, he was unfamiliar with the language and the customs of Argentina and did not know a soul there.

As he approached an area where family members and drivers greet arriving passengers, wondering if he had made a huge mistake, he looked for the person who was supposed to pick him up.

But as his eyes darted to and fro, he spotted a man in tennis apparel with the distinct rusty fuzz of red clay caked on his socks.

It was exactly…

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