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April 24, 2010

Melanie Oudin


M. OUDIN/A. Kudryavtseva
6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: First question for Melanie.

Q. How did you feel out there playing in front of so many friends and family? I believe this is also the first time you led off on a Fed Cup tie. How did it feel going first?
MELANIE OUDIN: It was all really good. I was looking forward to playing the first match because you can just go out there and not really worry about anything. You're not down or you're not up. Kind of a first shot in a tournament.
It was really good. I thought I played a really good, solid match all the way through. A little rocky in the beginning of the first set, playing some good tennis, but I thought I closed it out really well.

Q. Venus and Serena not here. You're carrying the torch at No. 1. How does that feel?
MELANIE OUDIN: It feels good. I mean, I feel honored to play No. 1 for the U.S. Fed Cup team at only 18 years old. It's kind of weird, but it's really cool. I enjoy it. I enjoy playing for my team, my country.
Had a great crowd out there cheering for us. I'm hoping to do the same tomorrow.

Q. You've played Alla in two Grand Slams. Was it a little less intense to go out today against her than it was in Australia or New York? How would you compare this match to the other two?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I think playing her in Australia, like I should have won that match. I mean, I was up a set, 5-3, 40-15, had three match points. I should have won. So today it was really important that I closed it out after being up 5-3 again.
But I think it was a little bit different because I definitely had the crowd for me. She was probably a little more nervous than me. Almost my hometown. I had really no pressure out there.
So, uhm, but I think a tennis match is a tennis match, anyone can win on any given day. But I thought I played well today.

Q. How do you fight that when you did have two match points, to come out and not make up for that too quickly? Talk a little bit about how you started. It seemed like you took a little time to get into your emotions and work yourself into this match.
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, starting off is always the hardest part because you're trying to figure out how your opponent plays, what's working for you, what isn't working. She started off really well. I was missing a couple shots here and there what I would normally make. So I knew I was right there; I just needed to hang in there and make her hit a lot of balls.
She started making some errors. I started playing better and being more aggressive and I was able to close out the first set really well.

Q. You got us off to a 1-Love lead. How important was that for you? How fulfilling is that for you? How much pressure does that put on you?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think it was really important because, you know, being lower ranked than Elena. Elena is going to be the tough one on the team for us, especially. So I knew I really needed to try to beat Alla today because Elena is going to be really tough tomorrow, against Bethanie also later now.
That was really important. I'm really happy to be up 1-0. This is the first time I've ever played the first match in Fed Cup. So I liked it better, I think.

Q. Do you find that you have to work your way into a match before you get your emotions into it? You seemed to thrive on the battle. Did that happen today? The first time you showed any emotion was when you broke early in the first set. Talk a little bit about how you have to work yourself up emotionally as well.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, I don't actually like mean to get down in the beginning. I don't know why it takes me sometimes a little bit of time 'cause people say, you know, I lose the first set on purpose, then come back and win in three. 'Cause that actually happens a good bit.
But I don't mean to or anything. Sometimes it takes me a little bit of time to figure out my opponent and then once I do, I am able to, you know, play really well and figure out their game and I end up winning in the end.
But I'm really working on starting off much stronger.

Q. What was it that you could tell she was trying to do against you? What was she trying to accomplish?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think she was trying to be more aggressive than I was, like before me, because she has a really good backhand. She tried to get into backhand rallies with me, try to take the point with her backhand. For a while, I think in the beginning of the first and set, that's what she was able to do.
When I started being more aggressive, started moving in, matched up forehands, I started winning the points more.

Q. I have to follow up. I can't imagine that you would be anything other than offended to hear it said you might lose a point on purpose much less a set. Has that ever crossed your mind?
MELANIE OUDIN: No. I mean, I didn't take it offensively or anything. I mean, 'cause it tends to happen a lot. I don't mean for it to happen, it just does.
But I think that really shows my fighting spirit out there because I'm able to come back after losing the first set. A lot of the times, you know, if you lose like a tight first set, you get down on yourself and you're not really able to pick it up again.

Q. Is it irritating to you that you lose the first set, I don't want to call it a habit, but it happens frequently as you say.
MELANIE OUDIN: Not really. I mean, today I didn't lose the first set, so that was good.
I'm trying to start off stronger. If I warm up closer to my matches, I do better. I don't do it all the time. Just like if I'm not playing really good tennis, I believe that I know I can come back in the second and third. It's not that like I play bad in the first. After the first set's over, I try to start over if I lose it, then start like it's a new match.

Q. Mary Joe was talking about how both of you kind of started out your Fed Cup careers, her as the captain, and yourself together, how you've grown. Can you talk a little bit about that.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, it's pretty funny because she started like right as I was on the team as well. So she was the captain and I was the rookie on the team. I feel like we've kind of grown together. I've gotten to know her really well, and she's gotten to know me. She knows what to tell me on the court, what I like to hear, how to pump me up, how to relax me.
It's going really well. It was nice having her out there today.

Q. You spoke earlier this week about the team atmosphere, how different and cool it is to be playing with each other. You're not going to be playing collegiately. This is as close as you're going to get to that kind of feeling. Talk about feeling pumped up with the crowd, how that maybe served as extra motivation for you.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, it felt really good having the crowd for me and for us because we played Fed Cup the past three ties out of the country. It was pretty funny. We were talking before my match saying that, uhm, if we double-fault or I double-fault, the crowd won't be cheering, which will be pretty crazy because we're used to that. You know, if we hit an ace or something, they actually will cheer.
That was pretty good.

Q. I believe you're one of the players who is taking part in the Locks of Love. Can you talk about how you got involved? Is your hair heavy or hard to wash?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, Liezel has gotten about 11, now she maybe has 12 players on the tour that are going to donate 10 inches of their hair to Locks of Love. I'm one of them. Liezel is doing it as well. There's a bunch of other players. Abigial Spears is another American doing it.
Yeah, so it means a lot. I mean, she's planning on doing it now, growing it again and doing it again. When she asked me to do it, I said, yeah, sure. It's already getting along. It will be really nice to give it to a good cause, so...

Q. Compare the eve before the US Open final round versus last night. Anxiety for both, eagerness? How pumped up and eager are you compared to the US Open?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, like I said before to the press, I really don't want to talk about the US Open anymore because I feel like it's impossible for me to move on if people keep talking about the US Open.

Q. How much sleep did you get last night?
MELANIE OUDIN: Last night we played charades, and then we ate dinner as a team, had a lot of fun. It was really relaxing. The whole team does everything together always. It's a lot more like that instead of just individually, you know, like going to eat with your coach, going back to the hotel, things like that.
I definitely was ready today for it. I thought I played a good match.

Q. Melanie, talk about your preparation for tomorrow. Will you review your matches by video, in your head? What are the preparations you are going to do between now and your match tomorrow?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I'm gonna go into tomorrow just like any other match I'd play. I've played Elena twice now. We've played really good matches. I played well both times.
Just have a good sleep tonight, get focused for tomorrow. Probably practice a little bit later today to make sure I have everything down I need for tomorrow.

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