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Q&A with Melanie Oudin

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Melanie Oudin

Melanie Oudin is into the second round of Roland Garros for the second year in a row. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Melanie Oudin upset No. 28 Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the French Open on Monday. The 21-year-old American, who picked up her second career victory at Roland Garros, will face Zheng Jie in the second round.

Oudin, ranked 78th, hasn’t advanced past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament since her memorable run to the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinals. Oudin discussed that life-altering tournament — along with her sweet tooth, dream vacation destination and pop-culture favorites — during an interview with SI.com at the Italian Open earlier this month.

More Q&As: Ernests Gulbis | Serena Williams

SI.com: When did you realize you were good at tennis?

Oudin: [Laughs] Probably when I got to the quarterfinals at the 2009 U.S. Open and everyone made such a big deal about it. I was one of the top-10 searches on Yahoo!.

SI.com: What was the craziest thing to come out of that, recognition-wise?

Oudin: I think it was the fact that famous people who had heard the story or had watched said they were fans of me. The biggest thing was when I was on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, Queen Latifah knew who I was. I never thought someone like her would know who I was. So that was a big shock and it was really, really cool. I was walking down the hallway and she was like, “Oudin! Girl, you did so good at the U.S. Open!” I was like, “Oh, my gosh!”

SI.com: If you could go back and replay a match, which one would it be?

Oudin: I don’t have one. I definitely have a few I would want back, some matches that hurt. The toughest would be the ones that I lost 7-6 in the third. I mean, a couple of points — those are the ones that kill you. Not the one you lose [6-]1 and [6-]1. It’s the ones where you give everything you’ve got and you lose by a slim margin.

SI.com: What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Oudin: Probably playing tennis with my twin sister and my grandma on the courts with us when she started us playing. We started when we were 7, but I remember more when we were 9 or 10. She would take us out and we’d go to our neighborhood courts and we’d hit together and then we’d play Australian doubles, one of us with Grandma against the other one. Yeah, that was really cool.

SI.com: Describe your last meal on earth.

Oudin: Brownies, ice cream, chocolate, pizza. Pretty much everything that I don’t eat right now.

SI.com: Name a guilty pleasure.

Oudin: Chocolate-covered strawberries

SI.com: Have you ever been mistaken for another player or celebrity?

Oudin: A couple people thought I looked like Reese Witherspoon, actually. That’s the only one.

SI.com: If you were the commissioner of tennis for a day, what’s the first thing you would do?

Oudin: I don’t really speak up a lot because I need to do more research on the WTA and stuff like that, but I think it would be to do more for players ranked outside of the top 50 instead of focusing only on the players inside the top 20. I understand, but there are so many players who make up the tour, not just the top 20. So I would just make the earlier rounds have more money at tournaments and just to do more for the players ranked outside the top 20.

SI.com: What’s on your bucket list?

Oudin: I want to go to Hawaii. That’s one place I really want to go to on vacation.

SI.com: What’s the biggest perk of being a tennis player?

Oudin: You get to do what you love as your job. That’s pretty cool. We’re really lucky that we get to play tennis instead of sitting in an office all day long. We get to travel the world, meet tons of people. There are so many upsides to being a tennis player.

SI.com: Who do you call to go for dinner when you’re at a tournament?

Oudin: Depends on the tournament. One of my best friend on the tour is Alison Riske, so I would probably call her if she’s there. If it’s a tournament like [the Italian Open], probably Madison Keys. Madison and I have become really good friends.

SI.com: Who’s the best dresser on tour?

Oudin: There are a lot. Daniela Hantuchova dresses really well. Sorana Cirstea dresses really well. Heather Watson, I like her style too.

SI.com: What’s your favorite TV show right now?

Oudin: I love Scandal, Modern Family and The Following.

SI.com: Who are some of your favorite TV characters?

Oudin: I like really, really, really like Phil Dunphy in Modern Family. And Dr. Christina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy.

SI.com: What’s your favorite candy bar?

Oudin: In England, the Aero chocolate bar? Amazing. They don’t have it in the States ever. When I’m in Europe, I try to stock up and bring them home with me.

  • Published On May 27, 2013
  • 7 comments
    mstrunn400
    mstrunn400

    Agree with spystud; why this preoccupation with Melanie every time there is a major, aren't there not many other young ladies doing much better that could have been interviewed?  I like Melanie but she better have a back up plan for her future, if she can't beat Zheng what will she do against stronger opponents? She was interviewed this year and stated that there were many perks to being a pro tennis player and that she was just glad she did not have to sit at a desk all day.  Well, Mel, watch out for what you wish for.

    Party_Gator
    Party_Gator

    She's a US Open champion in mixed doubles.   I'd ask what her doubles plan is this year.

    spystud
    spystud

    Why did you not post this interview when you conducted it? She wins one match in a Slam & all of a sudden she's relevant again? Would you have saved this piece for a rainy day if she had lost?

    badgernation74
    badgernation74

     @spystud

     If she'd said what an awful person Serena is, they would've posted it sooner.

    rampal
    rampal

     @spystud welcome to journalism.  Your hyperventilating grubbing at unpleasantries is rather unappealing. 

    lloydsed12
    lloydsed12

    @badgernation74 @spystud Lol so true! She did say things about Serena on the Degeneres show, then she started flopping in tournaments ...lmaoo, must be the Williams curse.

    spystud
    spystud

    @rampal "hyperventilating grubbing at unpleasantries"... That is impressive. Still doesn't change the fact that an interview conducted roughly two weeks ago should have been brought out today during a Slam. If she was going to run it, she should have run it then.