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September 9, 2009

Melanie Oudin


6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So what happened out there tonight?
MELANIE OUDIN: You know, um, Caroline played a really good match. I think I started off slow. I wasn't able to come back. She's such a strong player. She doesn't give you anything for free.
She plays incredible defense. Makes me hit a thousand balls and really is a really great player. I mean, I don't know what else I could have done. I could have been more consistent and been more patient, but she really made me think out there and made me have to hit a winner on her to win the point.
I was missing some. I was a little too impatient, I think. But overall, I think she played a great match.

Q. Has the totality of what you've been able to accomplish at this tournament sunk in yet? If show, how transformative has that been in your career?
MELANIE OUDIN: I've had a great run this tournament. For me, I'm a perfectionist, so losing today was a disappointment. I mean, I wanted to win. Losing isn't good enough for me.
But, you know, the whole experience here that I've had is going to take me a long way, I think. Just I'm going to remember this for a long time. I've gained a lot of confidence through this tournament, and I think I can only get better.

Q. Your theme throughout, Melanie, was "believe." Do you now believe even more than when you came or...
MELANIE OUDIN: I think so. Yeah, I mean, coming into the tournament I hadn't done well last year, so believing was my key thing going into these matches, and knowing that I could compete with these women and beat them.
Now I realize that -- I mean, I got to the quarterfinals of the US Open, so I know that hopefully I can do it again and again.

Q. What were you able to draw on either within you or your game to do so well here?
MELANIE OUDIN: It mainly was being able to fight when it got close and under pressure. And even when I was down being able to come back and just knowing, in all of these matches. Getting tons of experience with getting down, a set down in all of these matches, that I knew that I could come back and I could do it.
And now I can compete with -- I've played top 10 former No. 1 players this tournament, I've played any kind of player, and I've been able to do well.
So it gives me a lot of confidence.

Q. Did you surprise yourself at all with how strong you were mentally here?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think I did sometimes, but I've always been strong mentally. That's been one of my like key strengths, and I think that I can still get stronger mentally. Today I was a little bit fragile, I think.
But Caroline made me like that. You know, she made me frustrated that I had to hit a winner on her. And before, you know, I would get some free points because the girls went for more, and Caroline was extremely consistent.

Q. What are you most proud of?
MELANIE OUDIN: Probably the way I fought through these matches. Getting to the quarterfinals, I did not expect to get to the quarterfinals coming into the tournament. You know, it's just -- it's a huge accomplishment for me, and to do it at the US Open really means a lot.

Q. Was there any chance everything you went through this week was way more than tennis, that in retrospect you might look at tonight and say, Maybe it all was kind of cumulatively a little too much, you maybe were emotionally tired? You said you were mentally fragile because of the match, but was there anything else like that going on?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was a lot. These past two weeks have been have been really different for me. I've gone from being just a normal like tennis player to almost everyone in the United States knowing who I am now.
So it's definitely different, but -- I mean, I enjoyed it, but I don't think that affected my tennis game tonight at all. Because when I get on the court, I don't think about anything but the ball and where I'm playing and myself, how I'm going to play.

Q. Top tier athletes do have to put up with living in a fish bowl. The bigger you get, the more people analyze everything you do and everything that you say. It invades your privacy and so forth. You had just a little sampler, maybe little appetizer of what that life could be like. Is that a life that you see, that you think you could be prosperous in?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think so. The thing for me is I love to play tennis, and that all comes along with it if you do well and if you win. And I mean, I'm ready for that if that's what you have to do to do well in tennis, because I'm not going to stop playing just because of that.
I want to do well, and I love playing. That's what I'm going to do.

Q. Did you find that though to be a little bit offsetting, or did you find it enjoyable?
MELANIE OUDIN: There's ups and downs I think to all of it. It's just different for me, because I haven't had to handle anything like that before. So I'm sure that I'll get used to it. I just need to -- this was a good starting point for me, though, like learning about it and seeing how it will be like if you keep doing well and what it's like for the top players right now.

Q. What tournaments do you have lined up, and are you going to take any time off?
MELANIE OUDIN: I'm scheduled to play in Quebec City, and then playing Tokyo and Beijing.

Q. Will you play in Quebec City next week?
MELANIE OUDIN: I'm hoping to probably, yeah. (laughter.)

Q. You said you're a perfectionist.

Q. Do you have any concerns that you might put too much pressure or emphasis on your results as an outgrowth of this and that you'll have to try to temper that a little?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I came off and I was pretty disappointed, so my coach was like, You've had an incredible two weeks. You should not be as hard on yourself. I'm like, Well, I was disappointed with I thought I could have played better tonight. I thought I played better than in my past matches.
So, for me, I wanted to win more than anything. Losing isn't good enough. But then, I mean, that was right after I had come off. I really think about it, and I really have had an incredible two weeks I should be proud of myself.

Q. Young girls watching you and looking up to you, they see you also as just a 17 year old girl. So what things do you do outside of tennis that help you relax? Do you like going to concerts? Movies? What's on your iPod?
MELANIE OUDIN: I'm basically a normal 17 year old kid. I still go to movies and go to the mall. Like to shop. Here we've saw a couple of plays. I just like going back and watching TV. Playing -- I have a wii at my house. I love playing that.
Just different things, like board games and cards with my grandma. I mean, I just love doing all of that stuff, so basically I'm just a normal kid.

Q. Earlier in the year you had your first Fed Cup experience, which was a positive and you did very well. Are you hoping to make the team in the final? What would that mean for you? What was that Fed Cup experience like?
MELANIE OUDIN: I'm definitely looking forward to playing in the Fed Cup in November if I get to be picked on the team, because I had so much fun being on the past two teams.
We did such a great job, and playing was such a great experience. You don't get to do the team atmosphere very often, only for Fed Cup and a couple other things. Mainly you're playing individually.
So I think it's really great. I can't wait to be on the team again if I get invited.

Q. Has Mary Joe talked to you at all?
MELANIE OUDIN: Not yet. Not yet.

Q. What do you think you learned about yourself or need to do to actually win a championship and compete, you know, in the finals, semifinals and finals of these Grand Slams? You've beaten a number of Russian women who play the same, and bumped into Caroline today and she was very consistent. What do you think you need to do to beat Caroline next time?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I've never been to the quarters of a Grand Slam. I've never been this far, so for me, I have to learn how to handle the grueling two weeks in a Grand Slam. And mentally, physically, I mean, my body has had a lot of matches and a lot of time on the court. Mentally, it takes a lot to fight through those matches three sets three times in a row.
So for me, I think I'm going to need to learn how to handle that, and I need to improve. I think I need to get quicker and even stronger and I definitely can improve a lot of things in my game.

Q. So you think a lot of that is going to come from experience, like you'll just have to play through it and eventually get to those levels being mentally tough?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think it's going to be experience and working hard. I'm going to have to go back home and just keep training like I do. I'm sure that, you know, if I keep working hard, hopefully I can do this again.

Q. A lot of people were saying, The sky is falling; there's no one in women's tennis after Venus and Serena. It's not so great on the men's side, either. What do you think your incredible run here, what impact you'll have, and are you aware of what the impact has been already?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think it gives a lot of hope to the other Americans, especially the American junior girls, because I've gotten a lot of support from them. I've heard they've all been cheering for me in the junior indoor courts over there.
And just the fact that I'm -- I'm the same age as a lot of them playing the juniors, a lot of my fellow Americans, so I think that it gives -- it's inspiring to them that I'm doing well. It tells them that they can do as well as me if they keep working hard, and, you know, and they want it enough.

Q. And the most strange, most odd thing that's happened during this whole run that was a little surprising to you?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I never thought that I'd play Maria Sharapova on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open this year. Definitely did not see that coming. So that whole match, just getting to play her and beating her, I've never met her before, so shaking her hand after the match was the first time I met her. It was crazy. The whole thing, though, I loved it.

Q. We heard Roger Federer introduced himself to you. What was that like?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was really nice. His agent actually introduced us, and he told me congratulations. I was going to tell him congratulations too, and I totally forgot about that he just had, you know, twin girls and all that stuff. My mind just kind of froze getting to meet him.
He told me good job at Fed Cup and everything. He knew how I did here and everything. It was pretty cool getting to meet him.

Q. Do you think of yourself as a celebrity now?
MELANIE OUDIN: I don't think of myself as a celebrity at all. Just because it's me, like I've never like thought of myself like that. I just love to play tennis. That's it, you know. Just playing tennis. My love of the game and going out there, I love playing in front of people. I love people watching me, but I just -- and people know who I am, but I don't really -- I guess, people knowing who I am would make me a celebrity and people would want to be like me and they admire me and stuff, but -- I think that's really nice, but I just don't see myself as being that kind of, like, star, you know.

Q. Can you just talk about the school aspect? I guess you take classes online. Do you feel you're missing the traditional high school experience and have friends in school and stuff like that?
MELANIE OUDIN: Sometimes I do think about that before I did well at Wimbledon. Wimbledon kind of set my mind that I knew I was doing the right thing. My twin sister, she goes to a normal school, so I get to hear a lot about the homecoming and proms and all of that.
But I think what I'm doing is definitely worth it. It's what I've always wanted, so I don't really regret going to school.

Q. What will be your biggest memory from the 2009 US Open?
MELANIE OUDIN: I can't really pick any specific thing from it. The whole experience of being here has been a whirlwind. There's been so many great things I've learned from here, and the experiences, the matches I've played, I'll remember all of it.

End of FastScripts

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