Miss Melanie Oudin finished her thrilling two-week Wimbledon run this afternoon, falling in two close sets to the #11 seed in the Round of 16. Mel’s journey from the qualifying through her consecutive three-set triumphs in the main draw has been well documented by the international media. But here on the Wilson Tennis website, we are taking the story back to Mel’s junior career…rewinding into her development stage, and asking ‘what moments revealed the determination and the will to carry Melanie to the last 16 on the greatest stage in worldwide tennis’? Here are the TOP 5 MOMENTS that revealed the ‘making of a future star’:
5) June/July, 2007 – Melanie competed in Junior Wimbledon as an excited fifteen-year old, whipping onto the grass courts with her signature blonde ponytail and her fiery groundstrokes. But Mel did not find immediate success at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club…she faultered in the first round and went down against the big-serving Brit Anna Fitzpatrick.
4) September, 2007 – After cruising into the 2nd round of the Junior US Open, Melanie again fell early, losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But, after her disappointing defeat, Mel’s conversation centered on how she would build her game to push into the next level. She focused on developing her one-handed slice backhand to add variety to her groundstrokes, a shot that aided her on her five-match run at Wimbledon.
3) September-December, 2007 – Sporting a more aggressive forehand that became a dictating weapon and supported by the newfound variety off her backhand wing, Melanie dominated Junior Tennis throughout the rest of 2007. She compiled an amazing 27-match win streak over a span of five tournaments, winning The Eddie Herr International Event and finally bowing out in the finals of the Orange Bowl.
2) October/November, 2008 – After a confidence building tournament win at the Women’s ITF 50K event in Lexington, KY, Melanie entered the fall of 2008 looking for a defining match victory against the top ranks of the WTA. She had proven that she belonged at the professional level, but had yet to take out an athlete at the top of the women’s game. In the first round of the Quebec City WTA Event, Melanie outlasted then 28-year old Sybille Bammer, and achieved her first top-30 win.
1) June/July, 2009 – Two years after falling in the first round of the Wimbledon junior event, Mel faced a similar fate in the first round of WTA qualification. Down two match points, she dug in and slugged her way to a three-set win. Suddenly, five matches and one week later, Melanie was raising her arms in victory over the #6 player in the world…the toast of international media and the new hope of American tennis.
What a two-year stretch! CONGRATS, Mel! Keep it rolling!