In my former life working in marketing for a small documentary distribution company, I visited film festivals across the country now and then trying to find the next great doc. One film that I wanted to see at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival but didn’t get a chance to was “Unstrung” which looks at the world of junior tennis in America. After its release, I wanted to rent it on DVD but wasn’t able to find it for awhile but I’m happy to say its found a new life and distributor in FilmBuff that offers many films through video on demand. What makes taking a look at “Unstrung” today worthwhile is how it reveals the rise of both Donald Young, who at 15 was considered the next big thing in pro tennis, and Sam Querrey who appears late in the film almost as an afterthought. But the film’s structure and how it plays out is very much how both of Young and Querrey’s careers have done so far.
“Unstrung” follows several promising players as they wind their way through the grinding road of junior tennis. Although all hope for a shot at the pros, some are more concerned with immediate monetary gain that eager sponsors can provide while a few see tennis as a path to grow character and discipline before they head into college. Continue reading