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September 1, 2010

Melanie Oudin


6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Melanie.

Q. It looked right from the beginning like you were a little bit tight. Forehand wasn't working. Were you feeling tight? Did you ever get in your rhythm?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, I mean, I definitely was -- I felt really good before like going on the court. Uhm, had to wait a while before I went on. But, yeah, I mean, I felt good going on.
And then it was like the second I got out there, I did feel really tight, like you said.
Uhm, I think the nerves got the best of me today a little bit, especially in the first set. Second set I started playing a lot better, making the points a little bit longer.
But, yeah, the first set definitely, uhm, I kind of -- like the crowd was like really, really loud. It was just like a lot. The second I got out there, I guess it kind of overwhelmed me a little bit, so...

Q. Do you think it's a carryover from last year that people were so excited, you were so excited, a lot of expectations? You said something like, Everybody has one Cinderella story. Can you still go and be another Cinderella?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, I mean, I hope so. I mean, at least now coming into next year no one will really expect that much from me, so I guess that's good.
Uhm, but, yeah, I mean, I gave everything I had today. I mean, she's a really good player. Congrats to her. Hopefully she does well in the next round.
But, yeah, I mean, it's tough coming back, especially after like the US Open I had last year, coming back and expecting to do that well again.
And, yes, the expectations for me I think from like the fans were extremely high. You could tell by the crowd. Even the second I walked out there, people like expected me to win again like last year.

Q. Can you describe how you're feeling right now after the loss.
MELANIE OUDIN: I mean, of course I'm like disappointed. Uhm, I mean, and then doing so well last year and coming -- not losing second round this year, uhm, it was definitely disappointing.
The thing is, like I said, I still have hopefully like 10 more years in my career, hopefully 10 more US Opens ahead of me. So, uhm, I'll definitely be looking forward again to next year. This is still my favorite tournament.

Q. As the tournament approached, once it started getting a couple weeks away, what were your feelings like? Were you getting pumped up and excited about it, or were you thinking it was going to be tough because of the expectations? What was going through your mind?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I definitely, uhm, felt a little bit of the expectations like gearing up because the US Open Series tournaments had been pretty crazy with the Williams sisters not playing, so I was the top American in the draw. So that was pretty different for me.
But, uhm, coming into here, I mean, I was really excited, you know, to be back at the US Open again. I mean, like coming back and seeing everything and like remembering everything from last year. But I was definitely like really excited to be back again in New York.

Q. What do you feel like you've learned from having this different of a US Open experience and sort of over the last year, too?
MELANIE OUDIN: I think I've learned a lot. I've played totally differently from like last year, and then this year -- playing with no pressure last year, being the complete underdog with no expectations, and then coming in this year, even though I'm not seeded, but people expect me to do like extremely well. The expectations are a ton higher.
Uhm, so I think I've played under both circumstances now. So next year coming into it, I mean, it can only be like one or the other, so I'll be used to it. I mean, I'll be able to handle it.

Q. Do you have a greater appreciation perhaps of some of the people at the top and what the expectations are on them and how they respond to it? Have you asked any of the other women what it's like?
MELANIE OUDIN: Yeah, no, I haven't asked any of them really what it's like. But, I mean, I can't even imagine winning the US Open last year for Kim and then coming back this year, you know, people expecting her to do it again. That's really, really tough.
But for me, I think it's different for me, though, because the US Open last year was -- like, well, I did well at Wimbledon, but the US Open was the first really, really good tournament that I did last year.
I didn't have any amazing tournaments. That was the main one that it happened to be. I happened to play the best at the US Open, biggest Grand Slam of the year pretty much.
So coming in this year, I mean, people expecting me to do that well. But it was like one tournament, just like I said. It was only one tournament last year. And, I mean, there's like -- I mean, of course there's some chance, but it's not like I'm going to play my best tennis like guaranteed coming back the same tournament that I played my best tennis last year. It just doesn't always happen.

Q. Is there perhaps a bit of an emotional relief at having gone through this cycle, I'm back, I've seen how this could go?
MELANIE OUDIN: I guess kind of, because now it's like over. I guess I'm a little tiny bit relieved now. I can kind of start over, I guess like start over from all the expectations from like last year. And now I can just go out and hopefully do really well the rest of the year and keep working hard.
And then, uhm, gear up for the next Grand Slam, which would be in Australia. And I lost first round this year, so, uhm, hopefully I can only do better.

Q. Technical question. You're very quick and you have a big forehand. You don't seem to run around the backhand too much to dictate the forehand. Can you elaborate on your strategy that way.
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, normally I do try to do that. But today, as you saw, I didn't. Because normally when I get tight, uhm, my feet stop moving. That's pretty much what happened today. Uhm, I didn't think I moved very well. And I think I really know why: it was because I was nervous and I got tight.
Uhm, also I don't swing as fast when that happens. So I think that's why my forehand wasn't working, like you said, as well. Uhm, especially the down-the-line shot, that's one of my favorite shots. I hardly made that at all.

Q. How tall are you?
MELANIE OUDIN: 5'6". At least that's what the doctor told me. But people tell me that I only look 5'5" and a half. I'm going with 5'6". That's what the doctor said.

Q. How much hair did you actually lose?
MELANIE OUDIN: 12 inches. So, yeah, it's like a new look. I feel good. That's like a little bit of a relief, too. It's like way easier. It only takes me like five minutes to get ready now instead of having a lot longer hair, so...

Q. Where you surprised that you were tight when you went out there? Were you surprised when you went out there and felt the way you did?
MELANIE OUDIN: A little bit, because I felt so good going into it. I thought I had a really good warmup this morning. I mean, I relaxed the whole day. I felt really, really good.
But the thing is, I was tight also when I started on Ashe my first match. But after the first set, after I'd gotten ahead, whatever, I was fine. I mean, the second set I cruised. I was playing well, moving well, everything.
But I think today, uhm, I was playing someone top 30 in the world, and can't really get away with, uhm, playing like tight in the beginning. She would jump all over me, which is what happened.
So I had to play even better in the second set to be able to come back. I thought I could play better and I definitely had my chances, but she was the better player today.

Q. Do you still write "believe" on your shoes? If not, when did you stop?
MELANIE OUDIN: This year I wrote "courage" on them, yeah. And it was a new design and everything. I mean, I wanted to like change it up. Hopefully next year there will be a different word.

Q. What was the plan for the match against Bondarenko?
MELANIE OUDIN: Well, I never played her before, just seen her play. I thought that her backhand was stronger than her forehand. And, uhm, I was going to try to slice a lot of backhands, which I did, and also try to like rush her forehand a lot.
Uhm, but she played well today, I thought, off of both sides.

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