Melanie Oudin’s success amidst her parents’ divorce


By now, most sports fans know about Melanie Oudin’s remarkable run at the U.S. Open. At just 17 years of age, the no. 70-ranked American defeated both Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva. Though she lost in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki, she’s been the most captivating athlete at the U.S. Open. Unfortunately, her success has been tainted by her parents’ pending divorce, driven by the mother’s affair with Oudin’s coach. Yikes.

All the nice things about her remain accurate and worth saying.

But once again, the adults have apparently found a way to wreck things for the kids.

Before this became public, there would be no asterisks next to what Oudin achieved. No slants, few downsides. Just praise for hard work and a job well done, under great pressure on a very public stage.

Parents going through a divorce is one thing. Tennis has that, just as in all walks of life. Rafael Nadal’s parents are going through that, and he is pretty much left alone to deal with it as he wants, despite the public nature of what he does.

But when the charge is adultery and those charged are the mother and the coach, it’s just too juicy for the public to shrug and remember only backhands and forehands.

To be honest, I don’t think either Oudin story has legs. The U.S. Open is the last Grand Slam on the tennis calendar. Obviously, Grand Slams receive the most coverage, so Oudin won’t garner our interest until the Australian Open in January. Every tennis fan loves a newfound success story, but Oudin will have to perform well in consecutive Grand Slams to really make her mark. With the tennis year coming to a close and Oudin keeping a low profile, this tripe about her parents’ divorce will naturally go away.

Oudin’s story was great while it lasted — I just wished it was an unfamiliar American male showing up the big names instead. We already have the Williams sisters.

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U.S. Open Update: Roddick, Sharapova, and Safina eliminated


Competition just got interesting at the U.S. Open as Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, and Dinara Safina have all been eliminated.

Melanie Oudin’s face was flushed from a mix of exertion and excitement and maybe even a bit of bewilderment — “Yes, I DID beat Maria Sharapova!” running through her mind — when she stepped out of the U.S. Open locker room and saw Mom.

Several hours later, on the same court, another unheralded American who has lived in Georgia pulled off another upset of a past U.S. Open champion: 55th-ranked John Isner pounded 38 aces and eliminated No. 5 Andy Roddick 7-6 (3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (5) to reach the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time.

Keeping with the day’s theme, No. 1-seeded Dinara Safina exited, too, a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) loser against 72nd-ranked Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. After escaping the first two rounds with poorly played three-set victories, Safina wasted three match points Saturday night and finished with nine double-faults and 39 total unforced errors. Her departure means the Williams sisters are the only members of the top five women left in the field

On the plus side, at least Roddick was ousted by a fellow American. While I wanted to see Roddick take on Nadal in the final, I’m now completely rooting for this Isner character. The Georgia Bulldogs alum has yet to make his mark during his time on the ATP Tour. This looks like his chance.

Oudin’s story is even more exciting. Not only did she eliminate Maria Sharapova, but she upset Elena Dementieva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist and the Beijing Olympics gold medalist, in the second round. For the sake of diversity, I hope she makes it to the finals.

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