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America's Smurf 09/01/2010 - 9:13 PM

6a00d83451599e69e20133f382169d970b-320wi by Pete Bodo

NEW YORK—Not very deep into Melanie Oudin's second-round match with Alona Bondarenko, a voice rang out from the upper reaches of Louis Armstrong Stadium: Come on, Melanie, you're back in New York now! It might not have been the most discreet thing to say, much as it gave a self-infatuated resident of Gotham an opportunity to indirectly blow his own horn. Actually, at that point Oudin might have been forgiven for wishing she were back in Marietta, which contrary to the adoptive instincts of the New York crowd is her actual home town.

It was a tough day for America's smurf, the pugnacious, bold youngster who stole our hearts last year when she upset a slew of Russian women to make the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open at the tender age of 17. The moment Oudin finally gave up the hunt—and not without a fight—with a loss to eventual runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, the pressure began to build, subtly but surely, as the calendar shed pages and the current tournament approached. She was in an odd if unstated position.

Oudin's magical performance in 2009 ensured that no matter what she did in the 11-plus months until this tournament, the only thing that would really matter—the only thing anyone was interested in, at least in a big way—was how she would perform here. She had a love affair with New York last year; did anyone think that either she or her enamorata would move on after a quick fling?

That pressure got hold of Oudin out on the floor of Louis Armstrong today, clung to her like shrink wrap, slowing the movement of her arm, making her legs feel heavier than they ought. It happens, and it's never pretty. Players get tight. They try everything to get into matches, but keep plowing into glass doors, or they keep trying to jam the wrong key in the lock of success. It's a terrible thing, really, especially for a player like Oudin, who's inventive and spirited, who likes to run free and exuberant. But it can't be helped. In fact, you could see this one coming from a mile away. To Oudin's credit, so did she.

In her first match here, Oudin played qualifier Olga Savchuk and gave her just three games. Oudin felt nervous before the match, but settled in after winning the first set, and played at full potential. But as she noted after losing to Bondarenko, 6-2, 7-5, "Today, I was playing someone Top 30 in the world, and you can't really get away with playing tight in the beginning. She would jump all over me, which is what happened. So I had to play even better in the second set to be able to come back. I thought I could play better and I definitely had my chances, but she was the better player today."

Right from the start, Oudin felt her feet growing roots, and no matter how hard she swung the racket, it didn't seem to move with the intended speed. She provided little resistance as she was broken in the first game, here reliable forehand way off mark. Bondarenko held with ease and that was pretty much it for the set.

The women broke each other in the first two games of the second set. Then, Oudin fell behind 15-40 while serving the third game. The first break point played out with Bondarenko hitting a lob that Oudin chased down, and saw fall short. The way Oudin flung her hand in the air to indicate that the ball landed out (it reminded me of a rec player in a public park tournament), and the look of panic in her eyes, revealed her emotional state. The competitor in her was musclebound and flat-footed.

Yet Oudin, who had written "COURAGE" on her shoes this year (last year, it was "BELIEVE"), eventually found some. She mustered her desire and mastered her nerves, if only briefly. She showed flashes of her speed and agility, and pressed Bondarenko, who sensed Oudin getting back into the match. Bondarenko overreacted to the threat, and began to make errors born of overeagerness. It looked for a moment like Oudin might turn the tide, mainly through her talent for keeping cool and forcing the action. But the illusion melted away again, and Bondarenko broke Oudin's serve the next two times—and held to win the match.

Oudin was characteristically wide-eyed in her ensuing press conference. But she knew exactly what had happened, and wasn't inclined to fudge the truth. I couldn't help but admire the self-awareness and honesty with which she addressed the major issue. "I felt really good before going on the court. And then it was like the second I got out there, I did feel really tight. I think the nerves got the best of me today a little bit, especially in the first set. The second I got out there, I guess it kind of overwhelmed me a little bit. Like the crowd was like really, really loud. Second set I started playing a lot better, making the points a little bit longer."

Watching the match, I found myself wondering why Oudin, who's fleet and has a dangerous forehand, doesn't run around her backhand more often.

"Well, normally I do try to do that.  But today, as you saw, I didn't. Normally when I get tight, my feet stop moving. That's pretty much what happened today. I didn't think I moved very well. And I think I really know why: It was because I was nervous and I got tight. Also, I don't swing as fast when that happens. So I think that's why my forehand wasn't working, like you said, as well, especially the down the line shot, that's one of my favorite shots. I hardly made that at all."

The stat sheet tells a gruesome tale: Oudin made 21 unforced forehand errors, and hit a grand total of three winners with her preferred stroke. She made nearly double the number of unforced errors as Bondarenko, 38 to 20. Yet there was room for hope on the stat sheet, too: Oudin's average first-serve speed was the same as that of her opponent (87 M.P.H.), and her average second-serve was 3 M.P.H. faster at 74. Oudin hit more than twice the number of winners as Bondarenko, although the tally is modest: 9 to 4.

Maybe I'm just an optimist, but I think America's smurf will be back, and that she's going to play some high-grade tennis at majors before she's done. She's intelligent, poised, and brave—a good combination. She has a big heart and quick feet, gifts that can take you far in this game. And while she may never grow taller than 5-6 (which is the current wisdom, following some medical testing), her low center of gravity and nimble movement will more than compensate for her modest stature.

Maybe she just needed to get this U.S. Open behind her, to show that what happened here in 2009 was a little magical, a little crazy. Wonderful to experience but impossible to rationalize, or establish as the norm for which to shoot."The U.S. Open last year was the first really, really good tournament that I had. I didn't have any amazing tournaments [before]. This was the main one. I happened to play the best at the U.S. Open, biggest Grand Slam of the year, pretty much. But was only one tournament last year.

"Now it's like. . . over. I guess I'm a little tiny bit relieved now. I can kind of start over, start over from all the expectations from like last year. And now I can just go out and hopefully do really well the rest of the year and keep working hard."

It's a good sign that she was looking forward, not back. She's only 18, and there's a lot more in front of than behind her.


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Comments
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Posted by creig bryan 09/01/2010 at 09:21 PM

Again? Our Melanie will be back.

Keep Smiling

Posted by Franchise 09/01/2010 at 09:47 PM

Unfortunately Pete, you and your media colleagues have overrated this young woman way too much. Let's face it, she's not the real deal and probably never will be.

Posted by Franchise 09/01/2010 at 09:52 PM

By the way, a great and lovely picture of Kim and her opponent this night Peers who was 11 at the time http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6811290&fbid=488280311101&id=26081741101

Posted by CL/Hold the Foam 09/01/2010 at 10:23 PM

"It's a good sign that she was looking forward, not back. She's only 18, and there's a lot more in front of than behind her."


For sure. Everyone, no matter what their opinion of MO would do well to keep that in mind. Hopeless, of course, to imagine that the American media machine, which is so desperate for ANYONE to call their own, will do as much.

Posted by FoT 09/01/2010 at 10:53 PM

OK, let me apologize to all the Oudin fans up front but I saw this on another forum. It's just in fun, ok:

One year Oudin had "Believe" on her shoe;
The next year she had "Courage" on her shoe;

Someone asked "OK, she's out of the tournament this year in the 2nd round. What will she have on her shoe next year?"

The Answer: Fluke!

OK...I thought that was funny. Now back to tennis.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/01/2010 at 10:54 PM

Pete, this was a great read, and to her credit Oudin seems to have understood what happened in this match. In watching it she looked very nervous, and emotional during the match, constantly trying to pump herself up with "come on". So much pressure for someone so young. To me, the greatest harm to Oudin wasn't by those critics who viewed her as an average top 50 player because we had low expectations, but the American media who created such high expectations that perhaps no young player of 18 should be asked to meet. And I think she tried to meet those and should be commended for that. To me Oudin is a cautionary tale of why it is important for the press to not allow their emotions,wishful thinking and KAD to dictate how they view and write about a player. I think she got a raw deal from the people who wanted to much from her."They expect me to win every match". And that was unfair to her. I want to wish her the best.

Posted by london 09/01/2010 at 11:26 PM

Anybody wondering what really happened to Serena at the german restaraunt that caused her foot injury??? Well here it is!!! London with the exclusive news!!!

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/brennan/2010-09-01-serena-williams-reveals_N.htm

Posted by Terry 09/01/2010 at 11:38 PM

Calling Oudin a smurf? How condescending. And I don't think she's anything special as a player.

Just LOOK IN THE MIRROR Peter and think of what people could call you before calling other people names.

Posted by Beanie 09/01/2010 at 11:44 PM

I love coming to this site and reading the blog and comments. I really enjoyed this piece!

On a side note. I support all the American players. I really hope Roddick can win the open. But his behavior in the third set was horrible. While it was not as bad as Serena's tirade last year, I can't helping feeling if Serena had acted the way Roddick did she would have been penalized. It seemed like the commentators were applauding Andy's behavior. I support Andy but he can be very rude and immature sometimes on the court. And people let him get away with it.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/01/2010 at 11:45 PM

Terry, you're kidding right, there was no insult in that.

Posted by micah6vs8 09/01/2010 at 11:54 PM

MO hopefully be able to " start over ". Unfortunately , I see MO as a very good Vania King level player in her future .( VK played a very good match today , but fell . Another American . )
With both women the tyranny of genetics works against them . That must be beyond frustrating , esp. if you have the chops .

Posted by JimF 09/01/2010 at 11:56 PM

Oudin seems like a nice person, but the hype about her tennis is silly.

Not her fault, but last year's USO will likely be the highlight of her career. She simply isn't top 20 material. Nothing wrong with that. She can still make a living in a fun job.

But the media, especially Bodo, needs to get over it. Move on.

Posted by Matt 09/02/2010 at 12:07 AM


Terry, come on, Peter is no smurf.

He is clearly an ogre.

Maybe a troll.

Posted by Sherlock 09/02/2010 at 12:32 AM

FoT, I know it's a joke, but sadly, it's amazing how many people already feel that way.

How can an 18-year old be a fluke in anything????? Pretty pathetic how many will pounce on someone that age.

Posted by tina (AJDE, TIPSA!) 09/02/2010 at 12:41 AM

I am so happy I won't have to see Roddick any more. He had turned many non-fans (including me) into fans with that valiant yet ultimately heartbreaking Wimbledon final. He had earned a surfeit of goodwill, and blew it. Janko played the pants off him tonight. ESPN guys mentioned "mono" a split-second after the handshake. Can't wait for the post-mortem on this one.

Thanks for playing, Andy. Buh-bye!

I have no such feelings of rancor towards Oudin - but then, I have no feelings about her one way or another. But since people seemed to think that Dolly was a demeaning nickname for Dolgopolev, I feel I should say the same about "smurf". Although it's been ages - maybe Smurfette was the clever smurf?

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 12:41 AM

To be fair Sherlock, I think if you look at tennis history, you will see that you have had many young players even younger than Oudin have great runs in the slams never to repeat, Stevenson, Kournikova , Lucic, all were Wimby semi finalist who never went on to get close to a slam again, so yeah it can happen. Does that mean it's true for Oudin? Of course not, just that it's a possibility.

Posted by Sherlock 09/02/2010 at 12:49 AM

Samantha, true, totally agree. Just wish folks would at least give her till maybe the old age of 21 or 22 before declaring her a fluke. :)

Tina, I agree that mono can be overused at times, but considering he did have to take a week off to rest because of it just a couple weeks ago, it doesn't seem that far fetched for it to be at least a part of the reason for the lack of intensity Andy displayed tonight.

Posted by london 09/02/2010 at 12:51 AM

samantha dont forget to add pironkova to that list. we know she will never repeat that feat. kvitova still has a chance to though.

Posted by Ethan 09/02/2010 at 12:58 AM

American media wanted a star last year and made her the star. And eventually she came back down to reality.

Posted by SexyCommenter 09/02/2010 at 01:07 AM

Melanie Oudin's loss is not as big as Andy Roddick’s loss, for America. As I said before: There is no more will to win in Andy Roddick. Watch the match he played on Wednesday’s night: He did not run like when he played with Layton Hewitt years ago. He wanted to earn points, like Pete Sampras later in his career, from his serves. But for America, Wednesday is a good day: There are more winners than losers. The most surprised result on Wednesday is the loss of Tomas Berdyck. So one semi-final is almost sure: Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. For the women side, the new people’s tennis princess has arrived. She is Caroline Wozniacki. For years, tennis fans have been waiting for the arrival of a female tennis player who is capable of taking down the Amazonian (a compliment) S.W.. She must have look, talent and can be loved by millions of fans. She seems to know about the long wait. Because if you go to her website, http://www.carolinewozniacki.dk/, you will hear about the music: ”The wait is over”. So now I have two players to cheer for: Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki. Ironically, Canada – where I reside, was in a soft war with both countries: Spain and Denmark. Canada was at war with Spain because some Spanish fishing boat overfished along Canada’s East Coast. Canada and Denmark have been in dispute about some land. Don’t worry about the possible war, Caroline: All the male tennis fans here will be at your feet. You look and play much better than the Canadian Alexandra Wozniack.

Posted by Jenn 09/02/2010 at 02:39 AM

I am impressed with how composed and self-aware Melanie seems. I agree with Pete that these qualities will serve her very well. Agree with Sherlock - she is SO young. No reason to be writing her off at this point. The fact that she had a tremendous accomplishment at a young age should not be used as an argument against her. She just needs to find her place in the game. Whether that is Top 20, Top 30, or just the occasional big upset, or something else, remains to be seen. I like her and hope she does well in the future. The expectations this summer cannot have been easy for her.

Her comments sort of remind me of when Sampras admitted that he was relieved after he went out of the US Open the year after he won it at age 19. He was widely criticized for that, but you can see why he would feel that way.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 09/02/2010 at 03:06 AM

People accusing others of personal insults while being downright rude and insulting themselves always amuse me.

Regarding the "one-run wonders" - just says to me how truly difficult it is not only to break through in the first place, but to keep up the consistency week after week to stay there. And if they don't it doesn't necessarily mean they're no good - not everyone is going to be Roger or Venus or Rafa or Roddick or Davydenko. Think Melanie isn't doing so badly considering she's only 18 and this is her first full year on tour - steep learning curve, no?

I'm not sure I'd class Kournikova with Stevenson and Lucic, given her success in doubles. She got to at least the 4th round in all slams in singles, too. Although I note that Lucic is a doubles champion at GS level as well.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 09/02/2010 at 03:22 AM

Should add - do agree that the press can be too quick to laud players as the next big thing.

Posted by tina (AJDE, TIPSA!) 09/02/2010 at 03:25 AM

Sherly - I hear you don't mind being called Sherly - Roddick displayed plenty of intensity tonight. For someone who had mono, he shouldn't be freaking out over (correct) line calls, that's a waste of energy that should have been more wisely directed.

Posted by MashaFan 09/02/2010 at 03:34 AM

There are also youngsters who were able to win the greatest slam of them all at a very young age and move on to be the #1 and win an additional number of slams - The Oudin saga was a huge overrated fairy tale - She'd some great matches against top players last year - but it's doubtful if she's ever can go as far as the top 20 - or even can hold her #43 ranking next year - Fact is - Oudin is just a mediocre tennis player with nothing that makes her stand out from the rest of the mediocre tennis players on the tour who're trying to make a decent living for themselves - no matter what she's printing on her shoes - In a few years - no one will even remember Oudin anymore

C. Wozniacki is a great player and she's good looking - but I doubt if she's real slam winner material - not in finals against S. Williams - K. Clijsters - J. Henin in form nor a M. Sharapova in good form - Mrs Sunshine might be a princess who's never going to be crowned a queen

Posted by petewho 09/02/2010 at 04:52 AM

Bodofett vs The Smurf

I can see it now , an intergender bender with everything on the line.

Bodo takes his tennis smarts on court for the bounty in an exhibition against Tennis's Peremiere Smurf.

Actually Pete, she reminds me of a smurf too , but one with a mean temper , I would like to be in the same room as her after reading your comments , it would be enough to turn any one blue.

Posted by jane 09/02/2010 at 05:14 AM

Oudin seems to go out of her way to look like a little girl in her press conference but on the court she wore lots of eye makeup and looked so much older.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 05:39 AM

Jewell, when I put Kournkikova and Lucic in that category I was only considering their singles record and as you correctly pointed out each won doubles GS, but each also had very little success in singles and that was my point. Masha fan(doesn't think Caro can win a slam) and sexy commentator(does think she can win one) I actually disagree with both of you. I'm not sure whether Caro can or can't win a slam. To me, she is a question mark. I think she is evolving, and as both Shriver and Darren Cahill said she has improved her serve and has become more aggressive. I'll take a wait and see approach on whether she can win a slam. I'm not sure Oudin should be slammed ,but the blame really belongs to the media for the exagerations and hype. They should take the heat, not her, because I feel an objective and fair analysis of Oudin's game would have indicated the expectations were far to high. The media should take the heat, not her. She played to the best of her ability and gave it her all and that is all you can ask of any player, but we can certainly ask more of the American media than what they did in her case.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 05:54 AM

London, agree I should have added Pironkova to the list. As a fan of Caro, I hope the media NEVER does to her what was done to Oudin. Leave my girl alone, no thanks for the hype, and let time tell how good she can or can't be.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 09/02/2010 at 06:09 AM

Kournikova had little success in singles?

How did she ever reach No. 8 in the world in singles?

According to Wiki, in addition to her semis run at Wimbledon; Kournikova reached the singles quarters at the Australian and the 4th round at both Roland Garros and the U.S. Open.

Had she been playing minor WTA tournaments when she was at her best, Kournikova probably would have had a few titles on that tour.

The stats say that Kournikova had more than a little success in singles.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 06:15 AM

MSF, when I said little I meant it in relative terms, little to me means never getting a singles titles.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 06:17 AM

OMG, Gimbelstob, Just called Ryan Harrison "the future of American tennis" please leave him alone.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 06:34 AM

MSF, to be fair, understand how your definition of little is different from mine, but if you look at every player that is currently ranked no 8, they all have a singles title.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 06:39 AM

In fact,Just took a look at the current no 8 player who is Vera and she has 10 singles titles. In fact most of them have many more than l singles titles. And I think that is what should be expected of players ranked in the top lO.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 06:48 AM

Do I feel that the expectation that a top 8 player should have at least 1-3 titles is too high? Absolutely not. The top 8 should have very good results to back up their high ranking.

Posted by Ryan 09/02/2010 at 07:20 AM

I agree with franchise. She just doesn't have the goods at this point in her career.

Posted by temes 09/02/2010 at 07:49 AM

Melanie Oudin needs time. In few years she'll show whether she's "the real deal" or not. Can't say her results this year have been indicative of a future top ten player though.

Posted by Aube,Venus I know but take it one game at a time... 09/02/2010 at 08:01 AM

If there is one person I feel for in the tennis world lately it has to be Andy Roddick,ouch,painful indeed...but me I was scared of Tipsarevic anyway; ever since his match with Roger Federer in Australia 2008,he's indeed the first one to put up a fight against Feferer in along while and that gave an idea to the rest of the fiels...

Posted by Jay 09/02/2010 at 09:03 AM

Pete: I felt sorry for Oudin, too. I think that she is incredibly likeable and honest. She has put on some heroic performances last year at the open, and in Davis Cup, but, unreasonable expectations and hype cannot go on forever.

If we may discuss Roddick here...I have always been a fan of his, but I've also always noted that while always quick-witted, Andy can be quite the brute sometimes, and he often gets away with it. His tirade and continued ranting at the chair ump and lineswoman yesterday were un-called for, and he was wrong. Granted there were some bad calls, but not the one that got him so excited. Somehow, he did not even get a warning from the chair.

I found it hilarious that when they replaced the (correct) lineswoman, the replacement (wrongly) cited Andy for another foot fault on the very next serve. Talk about a comedy of errors!

Whenever Serena's absence is noted by the commies, they usually remind us of last year's debacle, but interestingly, I did not hear any of the commies compare Roddick's behavior to Serena's with respect to foot faulting. Maybe even they have gotten tired of bringing that up.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 09/02/2010 at 09:05 AM

What MSF said about Kournikova's singles success; she was, what, top 16 for three years or thereabouts? Seems a bit harsh to say that someone who was once 8th best in the world at anything had very little success. Although, I agree she didn't ever quite make the breakthrough that perhaps early promise suggested in singles. I guess the early fame and hype doesn't help there, either.

However, it sounds like her career wasn't helped by injuries - going from her breakthrough in 1997 and finally arriving in the top 10 in 2000 to being ranked 74 in singles at the end of 2001, after ome sort of foot injury that required surgery and meant she missed the FO and Wimbledon and plenty more tournaments besides. Back to #35 in 2002; career over thanks to back problems in 2003 which started at the AO. I guess she did start earlyish, but still - she must've been what, 22, when her career was over? That's sad.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 09/02/2010 at 09:20 AM

Oh man, that was tough to watch. Does she have a coach who could have helped her through some of the mental issues? She needs some assistance in that regard, and that's an understatement.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 09/02/2010 at 09:35 AM

I am a big Melanie fan and I hope she will work hard to become a consistent top 30 player. She has flaws in her game, as most 18-20year olds do, but if she works to overcome them she has the ability to get there. At 5ft. 6in. tall she will always have to maximize her best areas to battle the big women of tennis.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 09/02/2010 at 09:55 AM

Over the past year as I saw more and more of Melanie's results and read her fans and detractors comments[SamE mainly], I know she needs to work harder than most to get where she wants to be. Many times I got sick to my heart at the constant anti-fan hate that SamE typed out on the computer. I could not understand the jealousy she had against her. I went 6-8years not seeing much tennis and to see Melanie, Wickmayer, and Caroline as young tennis players do so well last year was to me an absolute joy. The more SamE typed the more I wanted Melanie to overcome her defects and the more I had to root against Caroline. I like CWoz. I believe she can dominate womens tennis with growth and continued consistency.

Posted by Carlos 09/02/2010 at 10:13 AM

Maybe not a smurf but one of Snow White's dwarfs, Spazzy....heh, heh

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 09/02/2010 at 10:30 AM

To Samantha Elin......I am not trying to get on your bad side, I was just trying to say how it hurt reading your attacks over and over. Just telling people to scroll on by is hard when most of the time on my cell phone internet it did not tell who was typing until the end of the reading.

Posted by lira vega 09/02/2010 at 10:33 AM

I'm not sure I'd refer to Oudin's FH as reliable. It's very flat, high-risk shot that's been prone to disappearing last year as well. Only last year Melanie seemed to be more willing to try and reign it in and see if she can win with a more defensive style if her normal, flat hitting wasn't working. No willingness to do the same yesterday. Even though occasionally she'd successfully throw Alona off with some slicing (her slice looked much better to me this year), she'd be too quick to go back to spraying FHs left and right immediately afterwords. I would've liked to see her at the net more as well, she showed some lovely touch up there against Savchuk as well. Hopefully she'll find her way out of this slump soon...And hopefully somewhere down that road she's gonna drop gratuitous c'mons

Posted by lira vega 09/02/2010 at 10:45 AM

And hopefully someday Samantha will stop ragging on retired players that she never even watched play

Posted by BrooklynNY 09/02/2010 at 10:53 AM

Relieved? Isnt that what Pete Sampras said after he lost USO final, and everyone was giving him shit for it? Saying he had no heart?

Oh, but shes just a kid...

Posted by A_gallivant 09/02/2010 at 11:09 AM

I've never been on the Oudin bandwagon but I do feel for her. I'm sure it wasn't easy to try to live up to the dream so many folks were placing on her shoulders. Complete agreement with Pete that in many ways, her crashing this year revealed the beauty and magic of last year and we should have left it at that instead of trying to manufacture something new. Now, maybe she can start over and rebuild herself and game to where it needs to be for her to be real contender. At least she'll always have USO '09.

As for Tippy vs Roddick & Llodra vs Berdych, some of these guys have one great win in them per slam. Let's see if Tippy and Llodra can back it up and make their wins count for something. I won't tell you what my cynical little heart believes.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 09/02/2010 at 11:20 AM

I've felt very sorry for Melanie since her results haven't lived up to all the hype of last year. She is only a kid and should be given every chance and time to find true success. I hope the media now stop all this hype and don't embark down the same road with Ryan Harrison but they never seem to learn. That is not just a criticism of the American media, the Brits are even worse.

Posted by ZakToscani 09/02/2010 at 11:33 AM

Im sorry but im glad Oudin lost, all those “c’mons” especially after an opponents errors are terrible, un-sportsman like, and breaking an unwritten rule in tennis. We see henin getting blasted for this kind of behavior non-stop (and rightfully so) but we don’t hear that with Oudin, I guess we are desperate for an new American tennis star

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 09/02/2010 at 11:35 AM

BrooklynNY, yes reading Bodo's Sampras book, PeteS said he made those remarks and he regretted saying them. Sampras said he probably should not have been so open with his feelings. My favorite player made(Conners) made it worse for him, using it to his advantage to hype it up. The media was wrong to play it up against PeteS then, it would be foolish to overblow it now. We ask for our Fav's to be open to better understand and know them, we should not make life overly hard on them if they speak out. Ten years from now if Melanie grows to be a good player all we will probably get in a press conference is sound bit responses and we will ask for more.

Posted by Lou 09/02/2010 at 11:47 AM

Melanie had her 15 minutes of fame last year. I'm sure she'll stay in the top 100 throughout her career, but can't see her becoming a serious threat. As much as I hate to say it, I can't think of any American women who will dominate once the Williams sisters retire. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 12:31 PM

Roddick fan, I think i would be the first to admit I was harsh on Oudin, but it wasn't out of jealousy, but misplaced anger at the disrespect to Caro at the end of the match, and the fact that I desired to see other players except her. And this is why I say that the media and not Oudin was to blame for the Oudin mania which dominated last year and that is what I disliked not her. And I sincerely wish her the best. And yes I believe she has talent and is a gritty fighter.

Posted by Samantha Elin 09/02/2010 at 12:41 PM

Forgot to add Roddick fan, although I would agree with you that I was harsh on Oudin, I wouldn't agree with you that Caro has the game to dominate in the future. I wish it were true, but no she doesn't have the game for that. There is only one women in the WTA who really has the game to dominate, but she has no intention of playing a full schedule so that won't happen. Get well soon Serena.

Posted by cloud13 09/02/2010 at 12:48 PM

Melanie Oudin, with her charisma and grit, can help raise the profile of American tennis, and while she'll never be number one, she can help lead a revival of tennis greatness here in the states. More on that from The Oregonian: http://bit.ly/dp7gws

Posted by Rasu 09/02/2010 at 01:09 PM

I was on the line Roddick fan.
Linewomen incident cleared it for me.
Great players concentrates on the game to follow and avoids negative energy.
I was giving Roddick some time to mature, its too late now. Anything players do, think, say or executes on the court should give them positive energy!!
--rasu

Posted by ZakToscani 09/02/2010 at 01:34 PM

Rasu, that incident actually made him play a lot better. Not all players lower their game when distracted. He like J-mac or Connors uses that to fuel his game.

Posted by Bob Backspin 09/02/2010 at 03:08 PM

I don't hate Oudin but I have to agree with ZakToscani, because the c'mons are really unnecessary. Also all of the tennis commentators were really biased towards her and that pissed me off. She is a good player but she doesn't really have a game that can get her anywhere right now. She makes too many errors and isn't as aggressive as she could be, and her mental strength isn't too good yet, maybe she'll be good in a few years, but certainly not anytime soon.

Posted by PaniniLuncher 09/02/2010 at 03:11 PM

Oudin said, “Now it's like. . . over. I guess I'm a little tiny bit relieved now. I can kind of start over... ”

WHAT now? Any player who "relieved" when she lost, instead of expressing hungry for more and believe she deserves to win and attention, is definitely NOT a champion. By way, Oudin is NO WAY a champion since she has not won any tournament this year. Oudin is simplly a MEDIA-HYPE just like Michelle Wie of Golf. With her loss, Oudin will be kicked OUT of 100s and into obscurity, as she wished, and may have to play qualifier rounds on many 1st tier tournaments in 2011.

And yeah, Oudin needs to DUMP that cheating coach (yes, he slept with her mom), and go to Bollettieri's tennis school or something.

Posted by jane 09/03/2010 at 02:11 PM

What gets me is every time one of the US commentators favorites go down they have a ready made excuse for them.

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