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)

pennetta’s peak

Two snaps to Italian Flavia Pennetta for making the record books this week: she began play at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament as the top Italian woman — and the first one to crack the SEWTA tour’s top 10.

“I’m lucky to be [in New Haven] right now” instead of Italy, where the country has gone wild with excitement and pride over her achievement (she even got a text message from Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta).

Flavia is still in the Pilot Pen draw, facing Caro Wozniacki in the semis and then either Mauresmo or Vesnina in the finals.

And she heads immediately to New York City, where she’s entered in the 2009 US Open as the tourney’s tenth seed. She is in the same quarter of the draw as second seed Serena Williams and the same half as Venus. “If they are fit and ready to play,” referring to the sisters, “no one can beat them.” After years on the tour, though, Flavia has learned to turn her confidence into an asset; she goes into these matches thinking that she can win. (Flavia is 0-1 against Serena — they played a three-setter — and is 4-3 against Venus, winning their most recent match in Cincinnati earlier this month.)

Even with just nine ladies higher than her in the rankings, Flavia has no plans to alter her tennis. For instance, she’ll continue to play doubles — mixed with Dusan Vemic and women’s with Fed Cup partner Sara Errani. She and Sara are trying to get as much experience together as they head to the Fed Cup finals (to be played on November 7 and 8, 2009, in Italy).

(photo by Karen Flax-Jardine/Global Village Tennis News)