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June 27, 2009

Melanie Oudin


M. OUDIN/J. Jankovic
6-7, 7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Melanie Oudin.

Q. You had a lot of set points there that you squandered. Did that discourage you for a while?
MELANIE OUDIN: Not really, because I knew I had so many chances. So, you know, after that first set I was right there with her, so all I had to do was keep going, keep fighting, and eventually it pulled through in the end.

Q. When we talked to you the other day, you were almost a little bit star struck. You went out and were very composed today.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, uhm, you know, I went out there and actually did really well. Was just thinking that she was any other player and this was any other match and I was at any other tournament, you know, not like on the biggest stage at Wimbledon playing my first top 10 player.
But, yeah, I think I handled it really well today.

Q. Not many people beat their first top 10 player their first time out. Can you talk about that.
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I mean, I just went out there today and I did my best. It ended up being good enough today, so I'm thrilled.

Q. Are you saying you managed to convince yourself that you weren't at Wimbledon?
MELANIE OUDIN: I mean I go into every match the exact same, you know, like no matter who I play. It's not like, Oh, my gosh, I'm playing the No. 1 player in the world. Every match is the same for me, because it all depends on what game I play and what shots I hit and all that stuff. So that's the only thing I can control.

Q. Did her medical break there at the end of the first set and then again for the foot, did that throw you at all? Did you have to get it out of your mind and just think about tennis?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, not at all. I mean, I was just focusing on my game and not worrying about anything that she was doing, so...

Q. There's so many great athletes who are so tall. Talk about your size, your height. Is that something that you use in some way as a positive? What is your approach?
MELANIE OUDIN: I mean, there's not much I can do about my height, you know. I wish I'd be a little bit taller, but there are advantages and disadvantages. You know, I mean, I take what I have and I do the best I can with it.
I think speed is my key thing. I have to be quick on the court because I'm not going to be, uhm, a lot bigger. I'm not going to get a lot bigger either.

Q. What was your goal when you showed up here to start for qualifying?
MELANIE OUDIN: My goal here was each match. I was planning on I wanted to qualify here really badly. And now I'm just taking each match at a time and seeing how it goes and just doing my best.

Q. Your coach was saying that after you won the final round of quallies he thought your confidence just locked in because you won that pretty easily. Can you talk a little bit about that. It even seemed today in the third set you were pretty sure when you had a ball into your wheelhouse you were going to deliver.
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I mean, qualifying for Wimbledon was huge for me. I mean, that was my goal coming into the tournament, qualifying.
So, uhm, but, yeah, I mean, it definitely helped my confidence. Each match is helping my confidence definitely.
But, uhm, I mean, I don't think I'm a different player than I was before coming here.

Q. At the end of the first set, what were your immediate emotions on having lost that? If you can, give an idea of how things changed as you approached the second set.
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I was so close. I had so many set points. So, I mean, I was a little bit angry that I didn't win them because I had so many chances. She played good points and I went for too much on them.
And then her first set point, she won it. So, uhm, but the thing was, like I knew I was right there. I mean, I was right there with her every single point, so I knew I could do it if I just kept trying and kept fighting.

Q. What were you thinking as she took that extended time-out?
MELANIE OUDIN: Uhm, I mean, actually I didn't really -- it didn't really mess me up at all. Uhm, it was really hot out there today. We played a really, really long first set, like an hour and a half. I mean, I think it benefited both of us.

Q. Would you say it was the best day of your life so far, or is that getting a bit carried away?
MELANIE OUDIN: Maybe a little bit carried away. I mean, I'm very excited right now. But, you know, I'm hoping there will be better days, too.

Q. Another important day in your life I'm told is when you went to the US Open as a 12-year-old. Did that inspire you in any way?
MELANIE OUDIN: It did. It did a lot. I mean, the first time I went to the US Open was my first Grand Slam, and I've always said that I wanted to, you know, play in the pros there.
This is my first year in the pros in Wimbledon, and I'm actually in the fourth round. So, I mean, it's unbelievable.

Q. Memories of when you first saw this tennis tournament on TV.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, when I was like seven, when I started playing tennis, I saw Venus and Serena Williams playing here and I was like, Mom, I really, really want to play there one day.

Q. Did she say to chill out and be real or go for it?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, she said go for it. My parents have always been very supportive.

Q. How did the family get into the tennis? Is your twin sister going to try to play collegiate?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, yes. My twin sister is. She'll be a senior in high school. So, yeah. But my family, we've all played tennis. My grandma actually started my sister and I a long time ago, so that's pretty cool.

Q. Your dad is French?
MELANIE OUDIN: My dad is not exactly French, but my ancestors are.

Q. What do you feel about France? Have you been there? You don't speak the language, I guess.
MELANIE OUDIN: No, I don't. My dad does a little bit. But, yeah.

Q. There's a group of French journalists behind the Americans. They're claiming you today. You have more a French name than American name.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, my last name, Oudin, is French. But I'm totally American, for sure.

Q. Was the chair umpire pronouncing it correctly today?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, I think so. I'm pretty sure. Usually they don't pronounce it correctly. It's taken them so long to get it right. I don't even try to tell them any more.

Q. For the record, could you say it again.

Q. Let's talk about grandma. She goes to the local club and says, Let's go? Was she into tennis big-time?
MELANIE OUDIN: She was. She actually still plays now. I started at her neighborhood courts, like at our neighborhood courts, because I live in the same neighborhood. Just played tennis with her.
We played Australian doubles, my sister and I, against her. It was so much fun. I loved it.

Q. What courts were those in Atlanta? What was the neighborhood?
MELANIE OUDIN: Charleston Forge in Marietta.

Q. You said when you were younger you used to watch the Williams sisters on TV.

Q. What do you remember feeling when you were watching them, and what might you have learned from their example?
MELANIE OUDIN: I've learned a lot from them. I mean, I was a lot younger, so I didn't really think about like key pointers and their strengths and weaknesses and all that stuff.
But I just -- they enjoyed it so much and they fought so hard, and I loved that competitiveness.

Q. Go back to last year. You lose to Robson here. Now you're in the second week of a Grand Slam. It's a long way from the juniors, huh?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, it's a long way from the juniors. But the thing is, I mean, I've been working so hard. I mean, it was disappointing last year, but I've always come back from it.
And, uhm, just being here, I mean, playing in the pros this year is unbelievable. And the fourth round of Wimbledon, I definitely did not see that coming at all. But I'm enjoying it.

Q. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 is clear reality and ten is fantasy, dream, what number do we have here?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I'm going to answer that after the tournament's over, because it could get higher as the tournament goes on.

Q. Is your family here with you?
MELANIE OUDIN: No, none of my family's here. Just my coach.

Q. Do you think anybody might come to see you next week?
MELANIE OUDIN: My parents, I think, are coming. I'm not totally sure yet. But I think they're gonna try to surprise me.

Q. You seemed pretty mentally locked in. Certainly more than your opponent. You mentioned speed. Did you surprise yourself today, or is mental toughness something you think is a strength of yours?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think it's definitely one of my strengths. Uhm, I've always been mentally tough on the court, not letting anything, like, bother me on the outside, just focusing and keeping my face on the strings. Just thinking about the match and that's it.

Q. J.J. is known for a strong support team. Did the, C'mon J.J.s bother you at all?
MELANIE OUDIN: Actually not. I actually had a lot of people supporting me. I was surprised today.

Q. Are you aware and prepared, if a young American player shows some promise, all the focus is going to be on you back in the States in terms of U.S. tennis?
MELANIE OUDIN: Uhm, not really. I mean, all the Americans are working hard, and I'm hoping that a lot of upcoming Americans are coming up.
I mean, I don't -- you know, like playing here, I mean, I'm doing well here, but, uhm - and I hope too keep going - but I don't focus on what other people are talking about.
I mean, I don't think about, oh, my gosh, Melanie, you're the next upcoming American. Everyone is looking at you. All the pressure's on you. I don't think about that. I don't ever let that bother me.

Q. Is tennis your main strength, or are there a couple other things you're very good at or could have been very good at?
MELANIE OUDIN: I would say tennis is my main strength (laughter).

Q. What other interests do you have?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I used to play soccer. I had to choose between soccer and tennis. I loved tennis so much, I chose tennis. I think it was a good decision so far.

Q. You're quoted in one of the things I read saying your sister goes to regular high school, you were homeschooled. You missed a little bit of the high school atmosphere by not going; is that true?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, I did. 'Cause I started home schooling in seventh grade, so I only got one year of middle school. So, yes, I missed the high school atmosphere.
But I think what I'm doing is worth it. It's been my dream forever, so...

Q. Did you visit your sister at all at school?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes, I did, in her like freshman year and stuff.

Q. What was your dream forever? Can you elaborate on that?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes. I mean, being a professional tennis player. I mean, my goal has always been, since I was little, to become No. 1 in the world one day. But, I mean, you know, I know that it's going to take a lot more work and, you know, I'm gonna have to get better and better. But I'm willing to work on it.

Q. Who was your idol?
MELANIE OUDIN: Justine Henin.

Q. Why?
MELANIE OUDIN: Because she's proven that you don't have to be six feet tall to be No. 1 in the world and win so many Grand Slams. Her footwork is amazing. Just everything about her.

Q. And you don't have to be Russian either?

Q. How far away are you from getting a serve as strong as Justine's?
MELANIE OUDIN: Every day I'm working harder at it. I mean, hopefully soon.

End of FastScripts

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