the strings and streaks of melanie oudin



While Melanie Oudin was busy making believers out of all of us, the one she really has to worry about is herself. (Photo via Getty Images)

It hasn’t been an easy year for Melanie Oudin. Since she rocketed to stardom at last year’s U.S. Open, the American teenager has struggled to marry her new-found life in the public eye with hard work off the tennis court. The result has been a topsy turvy tennis season that has left most of us wondering: What will happen to Melanie Oudin?

What most of us (including myself) have forgotten, is that before there was her run at Flushing Meadows or her stunning breakthrough at Wimbledon, she has spring success in North America last season with inspiring tennis at Charleston, Indian Harbour Beach (ITF) and Raleigh (ITF). It was a span of four weeks of tennis that saw Oudin lose just one out of 15 matches, sending her ranking from 177 in the world to number 125.

What we’ve learned about Oudin in the nine months that we’ve known her well (since she won six matches at Wimbledon last summer), is that she’s a streaky player. After her spring winning streak last year, she lost badly at the French Open the first round of qualifying, winning just one game in a match against Zuzana Ondraskova, ranked 192nd.

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amer’s twit pic: is that him?



We’re absolutely gaga over this adorable picture from Amer Delic‘s Twitter profile. But we’re wondering: is that really him? And if not, who the heck is it?! What a freakishly cute baby, too!

(Photo via Twitter)

slower traffic: keep right



Los Angeles catches the FeVer: Imagine our excitement upon seeing Fernando Verdasco‘s Calvin Klein X photos go up onto the company’s Sunset Boulevard billboard in West Hollywood, Calif. For those of you who aren’t familiar: this billboard is the first of many that drivers see if traveling west on Sunset.

Our morning commute just got a lot more interesting.

Bonus round: Speaking of billboards, make sure to check out the MAK Center’s How Many Billboards? project, which converted 21 ad spaces throughout the city into canvasses like these. Most of the installations will be up through March. (Read: Fast Company’s write-up.)

(via TennisToday; photo by Chuck Keenum)

nole darko



Yanking our chain (reaction): Though we’d rather see Novak Djokovic participate in another sort of chain, this one — involving a HEAD racquet, two geeks, and a whole lot of tennis balls — will suffice for now.

The racquet company’s newest campaign had the current ATP World No. 2 drumming up an idea for a chain reaction set-up triggered by swinging at a tennis ball (and eventually hitting a target).

To make it interesting, he and his friends upped the ante: if the experiment succeeded, Nole’s friends would have to wear pink bunny suits to one of his matches. If it failed, he’d have to wear the bunny costume to practice. (As long as tennis forever associates pink bunnies with Djokovic, we don’t really care how this turns out!)

Video: So how’d Nole fare? Check out the video above (it’s kinda sweet, so we’d rather not spoil it). And when you’re done, you can look at background info here.

Rewind: As you may remember, Djokovic was also the star of the “Speed Lessons” campaign, which came out a year ago.

Fast-forward: Brit Andy Murray‘s next up to bat. His video will be shot in the coming weeks and will debut later this year.

(image courtesy of HEAD)

kelly ready to out-tennis ramona, jill



In the past few weeks, Real Housewife Kelly Bensimon has made a push to become the most tennis-savvy of the New York ladies, first appearing with Venus at the Billie Jean King Cup in New York, and yesterday hosting a celebrity exhibition match in Miami.

TSF spoke with Kelly’s cast mates Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin at the Night of Legends tennis event in September. We wondered who Jill might pick as a doubles partner in a re-match of the two reality stars’ tennis duel. Maybe she should consider Kelly, no?

The ladies of the Real Housewives of New York are back on the small screen with their third season of cat fights and caviar.

(screen grab via wta web site)