Melanie Oudin Interview - US Open, Sept 7


Posted on September 8, 2009

Melanie Oudin Interview
U.S. OPEN - September 7, 2009

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

M. OUDIN/N. Petrova
1-6, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important was that eighth game in the second set?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was very important. If I would have lost that one...
The crowd really, really supported me and helped me through for that game. And once I got to 4-All it was going to be tight and close, and I had been in that situation before in earlier matches, so I thought I had a good chance.

Q. How did you prepare, mentally physically, tactically? You haven't played Nadia before.
MELANIE OUDIN: Actually, she played a lot like my past two opponents I played, so I had the same kind of game plan going into it. I knew that she was really a tough competitor, and I was going to have to play a good match. That's what I ended up doing.
Yeah, I'm really happy that I won.

Q. How would you describe what you've done and how you've done it?
MELANIE OUDIN: You know, it's kind of hard to explain how I've done it. Like today, there are no tears because I believed that I could do it. And it's like now I know that I do belong here. This is what I want to do, and I can compete with these girls no matter who I'm playing. I have a chance against anyone.

Q. The last three people you've played sort of are in disbelief. It's like, well, yeah, she beat me, but I lost. I mean, are you just keeping them off balance? Are you psyching them out? Are you just playing better than they think you can play?
MELANIE OUDIN: You know, I think it's just mentally I'm staying in there with them the whole time, and I'm not giving up at all. So they're going to have to -- if they're going to beat me, they're going to beat me, because I'm not going to go anywhere.

Q. Could you talk just a little bit about the lob you hit, I believe to break her the first time in the third set. Was your mindset offensive or defensive? Did that unfold just like you pictured it, I imagine?
MELANIE OUDIN: I had a lot of break chances in that game and she didn't have any, so I knew that I needed to come up with -- she came up to net, and it was, like, Yeah, I'll throw up a lob, and it ended up going in.
Yeah, I think I was on the defensive at that point.

Q. At the end of the first you looked a little lost. What was it that wasn't happening? You didn't get the serve timing down? The forehand didn't seem to be working well, either.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, she was playing really well. She played a really great first set.
You know, I think I could have played a little better. I was shaking a little bit. My timing wasn't that great. I didn't serve very well the first set.
But, you know, she was hitting winners on me left and right and serving unbelievable. So, you know, I just stayed there with her in the second and started off strong.

Q. Were you feeling tired at all in the third set?
MELANIE OUDIN: Not really at all. I mean, my adrenaline was going, so I felt good.

Q. Is your leg impacting any of your play?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, my leg -- my leg is good. It's doing really, really well. I'm happy with it.

Q. This was the third consecutive match in which you lost the first set. What's your mindset when that happens? What's your mindset been in this tournament when that happens?
MELANIE OUDIN: I don't actually mean to lose the first set. I just -- I sometimes just start off slowly, I guess. Maybe I'm a little nervous and all this stuff.
But today my timing just wasn't there in the first. My mindset going into the second was different. I totally forgot about the first. I was like, All right. This is a new set. I'm going to start differently and forget about the first one and just start off like it's a new match, and I started playing better.

Q. What's the feeling when you have the crowd behind you the way the crowd was behind you? Not only the last match, but certainly today.
MELANIE OUDIN: It's really a great feeling. I mean, to know -- like everyone stood up when I had my first match point. Just when I won the second set, a standing ovation. I mean, it's crazy how many people are cheering for me and supporting me.

Q. Do you remember the fifth game of the second set? You were ahead and you were going very well. Then you whiffed. You missed an overhead altogether. Things started to fall apart. Was that disheartening when you did that?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was. It was. As soon as I missed that overhead, I lost like three or four points in a row and got down, and I had the lead 3-1. So, yes, that was a little hard, but I forgot about it, so I pulled it out.

Q. When you are down a set, does it feel like your back is against a wall and you get more intense playing?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think it does help me because I've been in that situation many times of losing the first set and being able to come back and win. Because I do well with forgetting about the first one and starting over like it's a totally new match, so I don't even -- I forget about the first set, and I'm just going to start off and my mind is going to be just on what's happening right then.

Q. What would the Melanie as a girl and a kid who was hitting the ball again and again and again against the garage think about Melanie who is into this year's US Open quarterfinal?
MELANIE OUDIN: She would be so excited, because this is my dream forever. I've worked so hard for this, and it's finally happening. I'm in my first quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. It's amazing.

Q. Would she believe it?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think so, yes. Because this is what I've wanted forever, and I'm finally achieving my goal.

Q. The celebrity that comes with all this, how has it been for you as each day brings more attention?
MELANIE OUDIN: It's been good. It's definitely different. I'm getting used to it, but I think it's nice, you know, people are cheering for me. I have some new fans.

Q. Can I just ask you something about your name? I'm not American, but your name is very uncommon in America. How do you pronounce it? Is it French?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, it's French background. My great grandfather is French.

Q. I guess people don't pronounce it right.
MELANIE OUDIN: Sometimes they get it wrong, but I don't try to tell them anymore.

Q. You have eliminated four Russians. Three of them big and good. Did you determine a specific weakness in all of them?
MELANIE OUDIN: I don't think they had weaknesses. I believe all the matches I've played have been really close, and it's just been -- I've just been able to pull them out. Every single match has been so competitive and so close, and I've been able to pull it out in the end.

Q. Basically you managed to crush them. The third set, that was basically something happened in third sets or with last three matches?
MELANIE OUDIN: You know, I think it's -- when I start the third -- I start off really well in every third set I played because I believe in myself so much after I win a second. I have the momentum going, and I know I can win. I think I can win.
That's what I think out there, and when I do that, I start playing better and better.

Q. Do you want to see another Russian next round?
MELANIE OUDIN: I don't really -- I don't really care who I get. I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals. I know it's going to be a tough match no matter who I play.

Q. Kuznetsova or Wozniacki, do you have a preference or your feeling on playing one of them?
MELANIE OUDIN: I've never played either of them before. Just watched them play.

Q. How do you prepare?
MELANIE OUDIN: Just playing my game. I'm going to practice good tomorrow and look forward to the next match.

Q. Obviously most of the attention has been very positive, but the incident that happened at Times Square, was that a little bit scary? And do you think that sometimes it's a little crazy what the media attention, the fan attention can be?
MELANIE OUDIN: I know sometimes things like that happen, but not very often, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

Q. What were your goals entering the tournament? And how have they changed now that you're into the quarterfinals?
MELANIE OUDIN: Entering the tournament, I just wanted to play well and fight hard. I had a really disappointing loss last year, so I wanted to do better this year.
Now I'm just going to keep playing my same game and keep fighting. It hasn't really changed since then. I'm just going to keep playing.

Q. What was the disappointing loss?
MELANIE OUDIN: Last year I lost to a wildcard, Jessica Moore, 7-6, 7-6. It was the first round of the pros here.

Q. You entered the US Open not only in the women's singles but also in doubles and mixed doubles. Has it worked out well for you that you lost in the first round of the doubles tournaments?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think so. You know, I don't think it was such a good idea for me to play doubles after I had that long match against Elena. I think I've been so focused on my singles here that doubles has been -- it was helping -- I mean, I wanted to use it to help my singles. You know, to get better, coming in more and using more, you know, serving and volleying and coming in.
But I've been so focused on my singles matches that that's what's most important to me now.

Q. Do you think you'll refocus whether to enter doubles in future tournaments?
MELANIE OUDIN: I probably -- I want to play doubles. I like playing doubles, and I think it helps my singles a lot. That's what I use it for.

Q. Women's American tennis is basically the domain of the Williams sisters for years. Have they spoken with you or have you spoken with them about handling all this sudden fame in the last week?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, I haven't really talked to them about it, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job handling it. It's hard, but I'm trying to take it one step at a time.

Q. I would imagine that changing sod at your home club is a pretty tough task. How would you compare all of that with winning a match on Ashe stadium?
MELANIE OUDIN: Hey, I mean, whatever works. I mean, I'm used to doing all that. That's not going to change. My coach -- I'm still, you know, the same person in his eyes, you know, no matter what.
So I'm still going to be placing sod on the ground when I get back home probably.

Q. I wonder how you can stay so surprisingly normal in a high-pressure world of junior tennis and the stage you're on. What have your parents done or what is it about your family, your upbringing, that allow you to be so refreshingly normal?
MELANIE OUDIN: It's not hard for me. I've always been like this. So just because all of this is happening, it's not like I'm going to change the person. I just love to play tennis and I'm doing well and I'm winning. That's the only thing that's changing.

Q. With the word "believe" on your sneakers, what do you believe now that you maybe didn't believe at the start of this tournament?
MELANIE OUDIN: Going into the tournament, I did believe that I could compete with these girls, but it was just figuring out a way to win in these tough matches and these pressure situations actually coming through and winning.
So now, even if I get a set down, I still, like, believe in myself and my game. I know that if I fight as hard as I can, do the best I can, hopefully I can do it.

Q. Do you have any new beliefs though as a result of what you've done here?
MELANIE OUDIN: Not really. I mean, I know that I can compete with the best in the world now, and I will know that forever.

Q. Can you be the champion?
MELANIE OUDIN: Maybe some day, hopefully.

Q. Looking back, how important was the Fed Cup and everything to your season?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was really important. I loved playing. That was a huge pressure situation there, being down 2-1 and then being down a set and coming back, so that helped me a lot. That experience was unbelievable.

Q. Who was your role model? You're still very young, but let's say when you were 12, 13, 14, and you were looking into becoming a professional tennis player, who was your idol or role model of all the players?
MELANIE OUDIN: Justine Henin.

Q. Because she's also, I want to say you are compared to most top players not very tall, and Justine is also like 5'6", 5'7".
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, and the way she plays. I love the way she plays. She's so quick on the court. She just uses her variety to the best she can.

Q. Did you attempt the one-handed backhand ever?
MELANIE OUDIN: No.

Q. The leg is still taped. Are you feeling any discomfort? What's the status of that?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, I've gotten used to it being taped. I need it for precautionary reasons, but it's doing a lot better. It hasn't really hurt at all, so I'm really glad it's getting healthy.

Q. We know the leg has bothered you for a while off and on in the summer. How did it originally get hurt?
MELANIE OUDIN: I actually strained it in my match in Stanford. Then it got a little bit worse playing those next few tournaments. That is why I pulled out of the last two Open series.

End of FastScripts

Rankings
ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Andy Murray8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Na Li
10 Milos Raonic10 Angelique Kerber
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