trophy watch: american hardware

Slam season? It’s ova! I’m out of my let’s-research-this mindset from writing for USOpen.org after two glorious weeks with a great staff at the National Tennis Center, so I’ll give someone else a go at this stat: when was the last time a Slam included no “ova” winner? Barring one-half of the girls’ doubles winning team — that’d be Irina Khromacheva — and she’s an “eva,” so does she even count? For all I know it could have been the French this year, but it certainly seems like a shocker, no?!

The men’s tournament, in the end, wasn’t a shocker itself. Sure, it was shocking that Novak Djokovic for the second year in a row denied Roger Federer a shot at the title by saving match points (how ’bout that forehand?!), but in the end, it was a result that many in tennis expected: Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal in the final. And what a final it was! Thanks for ending a semi-mediocre tournament with such a glorious match, fellas. ‘Til next time!

Sam-a-Slam: Let’s just talk about the tennis. Sam Stosur played lights-out ball for two sets against Serena Williams on Sunday night at the Open. For us it was reminiscent of the way Maria Sharapova pounded her way past Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Sure, Stosur’s style is completely different that Maria’s, but the result was the same: she lost just five games against her heavily-favored opponent to win her maiden major. One can only wish that the Aussie will show up with similar form at her home slam come January.

TSF Vault: Trophy Watch | 2011 US Open

Cindarella story.  This one really was written in the you-can’t-make-it-up category. Melanie Oudin, two years ago the Open’s golden girl, had paired up with this year’s golden boy in Jack Sock, and the two just stormed through the mixed doubles draw. No, they didn’t smooch! But we sure wish they would have. More? Doubles and juniors after the cut! [Read more...]

trophy be damned, oudin and sock smooch

Love me, Melanie: It was a big night for Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock at the US Open. The two won their maiden slam, stunning the mixed doubles draw by coming through for the title. No. The two didn’t actually smooch. But there seemed to smooching tension. Smoochsion? We crafted up some photoshop guile to bring them a little bit … closer.

Congrats, kiddos.

(TSF illustration. Yes, illustration)

tsf interview: melanie oudin on peaches, school and her fave tunes


Fresh peach: Melanie Oudin. (Images courtesy of Wilson)

Though 2011 has been a rough go for 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Oudin, the Georgia peach remains a sparkly and upbeat personality on the WTA. The former adidas-clad (remember those shoes?) is now sporting Wilson, and she makes her way toward the Open with a larger question mark looming over her head: Will she have personalized shoes again?! TSF got the chance to shoot over Mel a few Qs. Here’s what she had to say:

TSF: OK Georgia girl: Fresh peaches, dried peaches or Peach Ring candies?
Melanie Oudin: Fresh peaches.

TSF: Would you rather: spend a summer at the Wilson HQs in Chicago with no AC? Or spend a winter at the Wilson HQs in Chicago with no heat?
MO: Spend a summer in the Wilson HQ’s with no AC.

TSF: What are you doing for school these days? Online classes?
MO: Right now nothing cause I’m finished with high school, but will prob sign up for some online classes next year.

TSF: The first thing you do in the morning is?
MO: Brush my teeth.

TSF Vault: Melanie Oudin | Wilson

TSF: What’s your favorite thing to wear from the Wilson clothing line collection?
MO: The capri tight pants and the Wilson dresses for matches.

TSF: You’re currently rocking out to _________ on your iPod.

MO: I’m currently rocking out to “Lose Control” by Keri Hilson on my iPod and other pop songs.

TSF: What’s one random/weird/strange/you-tell-your-friends-back-home thing that has happened to you while traveling abroad?
MO: There are a ton of weird/random things that have happened to me while traveling around the world that there’s too many to choose one.

TSF: You couldn’t vote in 2008. Who gets your ballot check in 2012? Obama? Palin? Trump?!
MO: Palin.

TSF: Say you could ask Monica Seles one thing. What would it be?
MO: Was it just a complete life-changing experience after you got stabbed? How did you recover from that? Also, how was it for you to deal with lots of pressure on the tour and ups and down?

What’s she wearing? Top:
La Divine tank with built-in sports bra. Buy: On Tennis Warehouse for $34Bottom: Garden LS pull-over zip. Buy: On TW for $25.

melanie oudin: on the comeback trail?

Or perhaps a better title for this post would have been, “Home is where the belief is.” However you pin it, Melanie Oudin is about to drop out of the top 100. The Georgia gal who took the tennis world by storm at the 2009 US Open has struggled in the 22 months since she won four matches and captured all of our imaginations along the way. After a semi-decent 2010 in which she went 25-24, Oudin has epically struggled this year, winning just eight matches in 30 tries. Between the French Open and Wimbledon, she won just three games in two matches (to be fair, she went out to Schiavone and Ivanovic, respectively).

But if Oudin loves anything it’s the hardcourt season in America. On Wednesday afternoon she talked with reporters about the inaguaral Citi Open, which is being billed as a Washington D.C. event but taking place in College Park, Md., near the University of Maryland campus. The event happens July 23 to 31, a week before the men take the court at the Legg Mason Classic. If anything, we’re digging the tourney’s entry page (see below). | TSF Vault: Melanie Oudin

TSF got to listen to Melanie talk the reporters (and herself) up for a few minutes and she weighed in on a couple of things we had been curious about.

TSF: Melanie, tell us about your plan for the summer. What is your schedule going to be other than the Citi Open?
Melanie Oudin:
Nothing is really finalized right now. I’m not really worried about playing qualifying right now. It might be good for me to play someone who isn’t in the top 50 in the first round. Qualifying can help me get some matches under my belt and be ready for a main draw match. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for me, I think.

I took a wild card to play in [USTA Pro Circuit event] Lexington. First of all, I love that tournament. It was the first pro tournament that I ever won. The people there are so nice and I felt like going back there where I first started and won my first tournament would help a lot and hopefully it’ll be a really good week.

TSF: Recently Donald Young got into a bit of trouble on Twitter for hurling some choice words at the USTA. You’ve dabbled on Twitter in the past, but do you think you might do more of it in the future?
MO:
I’m on some but not a lot. I would never put something really personal up there because I don’t feel like that’s what you put on Facebook or Twitter. I know Donald did apologize so I think everything is good with them now. I just don’t think it’s the place to be too personal and put any huge information on there but I think it’s good for fans to be able to follow different athletes and people they’re inspired by.

But the real question is: what word is going to be on her shoes this year?! Get on that, Wilson!

(Getty Images photo)

practice makes perfect: "i’d hit that"

Now that she’s with Wilson, Melanie Oudin needn’t worry about pumping herself up with mantras about courage and self-confidence. A little double entendre never hurt anyone, right? She — along with other players in the Wilson stable including Anne Keothavong (pictured) — has been wearing practice tees printed with the phrase “I’d Hit That.” Available to the masses in time for the U.S. Open later this year.

(keothavong picture taken at the 2011 australian open by Open Court)

does melanie oudin still believe?

One of the highlights of our visit to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells? Seeing this purple dress from Wilson hanging on a mannequin. The Chicago-based brand’s continued to up their game, starting with that lovely blank/pink motif at the 2010 US Open, and moving to brighter colors (white, teal, lavender) to work with the sunny backdrops of Spring ’11 tourneys. (BTW, we heard someone mention that Busted Racquet gave her a hard time about this dress in Melbourne. Is this true?)

And what of the Oudin slogans (“Believe” in 2009 and “Courage” in 2010) — will Melanie and Wilson drum one up in time for this year’s U.S. Open? “We will try to keep it going for sure,” said Melanie’s agent, Sam Duvall. They’re looking for the right time to bring it back, he added. I say that time is now, because missy needs a boost: she’s 5-7 so far this year. On the flip side, that’s enough to keep her ranking of 75th, making making her the fourth-best American on the tour(!). Perhaps the slogan should come back for all of U.S. women’s tennis?

Your thoughts: Will Melanie Oudin will stay ahead of Americans Coco Vandeweghe? Varvara Lepchenko? Christina McHale? Vania King? What do you think? Tell us!

Buy: La Divine Dress, in white or lavender, $72; La Divine Tank, in white or pool (teal), $48; the rest of Wilson’s women’s gear here.

(images via Getty Images)

it must be… the food we eat?

Americans Melanie Oudin and Andy Roddick crashed out of the US Open yesterday, both losing to Eastern European players in winnable matches. Roddick’s was marred by controversy – much of it self-inflicted – while Oudin’s tightness got in her own way of a second straight Cinderella story.

Maybe it’s the food we eat? Okay, probably not, but GOOD has this great photo gallery up of American fast food that we had to pass on. Click the image above to see the rest of the shapely fried goodness, shot by Jon Feinstein.

the “courage” to “believe”

Busy New York bee Melanie Oudin on her 2010 U.S. Open miadidas Barricade 6.0 shoes from adidas: “The reason I chose the word COURAGE is because in order to believe you have to have the courage to do so… Courage to me means playing with no fear and going for it no matter what. You can believe in yourself so much but unless you have the courage to go on the court and put yourself on the line every time you won’t make it. You need courage and belief to make it to the top.”

Kit: Melanie will complement the vibrant colors of this shoe with her Fall Barricade tank and skort, both in “Collegiate Purple” and “Radiant Red”. Can’t wait to see it all in action next week!

Slow start: At this week’s Open warm-up in New Haven — the Pilot Pen Tennis at Yale — Oudin snatched a set from Dominika Cibulkova (a lucky loser, even!) before losing: 2-6, 7-5, 4-6. (Draw: Women’s Singles [pdf])

(image courtesy of adidas)

oops! she did it again?

Oudin knows the camera (phones) will be turned on her over the next two weeks. “Crazy things happen in NYC.” (TSF photo)

Brand Oudin is making its biggest push in New York this week, one year after Melanie Oudin wowed the New York crowds and captured the nation’s attention with her eye-popping upsets. Oudin is part of campaigns with adidas, American Express and Virgin Mobile in and around NYC to promote the Open (and said products), even though the American teen is a dismal 3-11 on tour since May.

The web was buzzing earlier this week with the announcement that Oudin would wear customized adidas shoes, this year with the word “Courage” emblazoned on them. Last year, her “Believe” shoes were a US Open obsession, spawning what many called “Melanie Mania” and setting Oudin up for commercial success with deals with companies like Virgin Mobile. The Women Who Serve blog said if it were really up to Oudin she might have wanted to chose “Forget” to go on her shoes this year… as in forget last year’s Open.

But if Oudin wants to Oops! Do it again, she’ll have to do all those things: have courage, believe in herself and forget. The New York media will be shameless in the coverage and glamorization of Oudin in her return to New York, even the girl has obviously worked hard in the gym (check the adidas link… those biceps!) but hasn’t seen results on the court. Can’t we all just leave her alone? C Note thinks that’ll help, too.

After the cut: ad shots from Oudin’s adidas customized shoe and the American Express video. [Read more...]

in chicago, wilson anchors duty with design

In the outskirts of Chicago, tennis – and sport – behemoth Wilson calls part of an office tower home. The space, just a stone’s throw from O’Hare Airport, is non-descript from the outside: a big, just-out-of-the-city office building, expansive parking lot, Chicago wintry winds and the red ‘Wilson’ christening the side of the top the structure, seemingly simple and corporate.

Inside, however, the space is anything but simple. And to call it corporate would only be accurate in its ability to be a functional, inspiring space. Wilson occupies five floors in the building, including the top three. The 2007 move from the building next door provided the company to make thoughtful, sustainable and modern decisions on how to utilize its new space both as a workplace and an area to encourage creative interaction by those who work there and those who visit.

Said visitors are greeted in the Wilson lobby by a vast wall that hosts black and white photos of Wilson employees, coaches, trainers, athletes and superstars. The view provides a sort of story-telling for the Wilson name over the last 100 years, since the brand launched in 1914. Images of tennis players are aplenty, their equipment and dress anchored in their era and style. There’s Lindsay Davenport rocking her mid-90s Girl Next Door look. And there’s Pete Sampras winning the Open in 2002. The expansive space beyond the wall (pictured below) displays product in a minimalist, museum-inspired way, using outside light to brighten the room and create a feeling of excitement about the possibilities of sport, and, from Wilson’s point of view, their name.

Read more about the Wilson headquarters and find out what the day in a life of a Wilsontouring team memberentails after the cut.

[Read more...]