Oudin Ends Grand Slam Drought
The former East Cobb resident's victory at the French Open Sunday was her first in a major tournament since she reached the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinals.
After falling to 269th on the Women's Tennis Association rankings and getting a fresh start in Boca Raton, Fla., and then in New York with the aid of new coaches, Melanie Oudin may be seeing some of her changes paying off.
The young East Cobb woman who dazzled the tennis world with her appearance as a 17-year-old in the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinals dropped off the radar just as fast as she had raced into the spotlight.
But on Sunday, she won her first Grand Slam match since her run in Flushing Meadow, downing Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open. Oudin, who's still only 20 years old, also won her first match in a main-draw tournament in more than a year. Her second-round opponent on Tuesday will be Sara Errani of Italy.
"That's the biggest thing when I'm out there: I believe I can win these matches again," she told reporters after her outing at the Roland Garros complex in Paris.
Oudin reached the depths of her struggles last fall, then fired longtime coach Brian de Villiers. She left her apartment in Boca Raton and since February has worked with USTA coaches near the U.S. Open venue in Queens, New York.
She received a wild card French Open invitation after winning some USTA qualifiers, and is now looking to settle in the New York City area as she continues her comeback. For the moment, she's staying with a family in nearby Westchester County.
“I never really would have thought I would be in the city, New York City,” Oudin told tennis.com blogger Steve Tignor after her match Sunday. “I’m not really a big fan of New York, and I don’t really seem like a New York City kind of girl.
“I’m from the south. People are different there.”
Meanwhile, her Florida apartment is officially for rent.