American Morning

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September 10th, 2009
10:21 AM ET

Teen tennis star going home to 'normal'

The dream ended last night for 17-year-old tennis star Melanie Oudin, who lost in straight sets to Caroline Wozniacki at the U.S. Open. Oudin joined John Roberts and Carol Costello on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday to talk about her incredible run. An edited transcript of the interview is below.

John Roberts: Last year was your first U.S. Open appearance. You came in as a wild card. You were out in the first round. What was this year's experience compared to last?

Melanie Oudin: It was so much better. I wanted to get revenge this year, because it was very disappointing losing last year first round.

Roberts: Yeah, you'd been pro for all of four months…what the heck?

Oudin: Yeah. I did much better. And I’m really proud of myself for how I did.

Carol Costello: You were saying before it was a combination of everything that maybe affected your game. Tell us about that, what the pressure has been like on you, with all of the attention that you're getting.

Oudin: It's been hard. It's definitely different than what I'm used to. I'm just used to going out and playing tennis, but these two weeks have been so much more than that. It’s been lots of media and lots of different things happening and people knowing who I am now and just a lot of things, but all in all, it was good for me and it’s a good learning experience.

Roberts: In all of the big matches you had played before – against Petrova, Sharapova – you lost the first set, but you came back to win. The same thing happened last night, but just to put up this picture here of you after losing the first set to Wozniacki – it was something in your face that said, “uh-oh.” What was going through your mind?

Oudin: I knew I wasn't playing as well as I had in past matches so it was going to be hard to try to come back. And I did try, but Caroline's too strong of a player and she didn't let me back in the match at all so I couldn’t come back.

Costello: Caroline, the young woman who beat you – you were interviewed before her and she actually turned to the crowd and said, you know, I hope you're glad that I won, because she knew how much the crowd loved you.

Roberts: I’ve got the exact quote here. She said, “I'm sorry I won against Melanie today. I know many of you guys wanted her to win, but hopefully I won many of your guys' hearts and you'll be cheering for me at my next match.” You don’t often hear that from the winner.

Oudin: No, you don’t. I was really surprised to hear that. Caroline's a really nice girl.

Costello: How does it make you feel that people have embraced you like this? You had to be really disappointed and kind of angry that you lost the match, yet here's this like, overwhelming love coming at you from the crowd.

Oudin: It's pretty exciting. It's very different for me, having everyone know who I am now and stuff, but it's cool that I have a lot of new fans and people who are going to be cheering for me.

Roberts: What have you learned through this U.S. Open? For people who really understand tennis, you had more winning shots than Caroline did, but twice as many unforced errors. You had 42. It's difficult to win when you're making that many errors. What did you learn during this U.S. Open that you will take with you into the next tournament?

Oudin: I've gained confidence this tournament, that I can do this again, hopefully. And that I can compete with the best in the world, you know, no matter how highly ranked they are. I beat Sharapova, who's a huge champion, has been number one in the world before. So my confidence has definitely gone up.

Roberts: You’ve got a lot of physical toughness. Do you have to work on the mental part of the game too?

Oudin: You have to work on both, yes. Mentally, though, is a very, very important part of the game.

Costello: So you're going to go home and I think I heard you vowed you would continue to live life as normal.

Oudin: Yes.

Costello: What is normal for you?

Oudin: Normal is just going home and spending time with my family and going to the mall with my friends and the movies and just being a normal 17-year-old kid.

Roberts: As normal as you can be. But what about tennis? What's next for you?

Oudin: Next for me, I'm going to Asia. My next tournament’s coming up. That's going to be interesting.

Roberts: So we've got to ask you to clarify this. What was the hotel thing all about? We've got some stories that say the hotel wouldn't let you stay and other reports say, well, the hotel didn't know it was you. What happened there?

Oudin: No, it was just the fact that we had – our reservation had ended and then we just moved across the street, because they didn't really have anymore rooms. So it wasn't a big deal.

Roberts: Did your agent say, hey, wait a minute, we've got Melanie Oudin here, she needs a room?

Oudin: Apparently they didn't think that was good enough. I don’t know.


Filed under: Sports
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Joe

    They say the third time is the charm (cliche' intended). Let's hope it is for Melanie. Stay true to yourself and you'll earn every praise you deserve.

    September 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  2. Mark

    Uhh, Rachel. This was not a Venus Williams caliber player reserving a room who would assume they would be playing the full two weeks of the tournament. A young pro like Melanie would naturally assume should we not make it past the first week. I guess you could say she was a victim of her own success. Most young pros lose in the first round. Would you as a player want to pay for New York City hotel rooms for yourself and your entourage for two weeks if you lost in the first round?

    September 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  3. Wilson

    I was really hoping for Melanie to come through. I enjoyed watching her. My concern was for the first time in my life have I witnessed an interview to the looser before the winner. The audio even showed Melanie asking "now?" as in she knew it was not the appropriate time to interview. I wish her the best, I just hope this WTA hype they are building doesn't interfere with the respect and class the other players deserve.

    September 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Sheree Hall

    Congratulations to a real superstar. Don't let the media upset you. You can tell by your work ethic you will go far and conquer all of your dreams. Good luck from one of your newest fans.

    September 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  5. Laurie

    Congrats, and thank you for bringing excitement back to the sport of tennis!

    September 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  6. Adriana

    Congratulations Melanie, you are a sweet person and a real fighter!
    It is so delightful to see a humble star! You are what the world of sports needs 🙂 Best of luck!

    September 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  7. lesley

    You have definitely won over some fans. We loved watching you play with such grit and fierceness this past week. Congrats on your success and we'll keep watching for you!

    September 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Billy

    Rockin' games. Too bad she choked a bit. But she will be back with a vengance I suspect.

    Great Player! I look forward to watching her ascent.

    September 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Sherm

    Way to go, Melanie! It's always nice to see an athlete who's both humble and talented. Best of luck!

    September 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  10. Rickey

    Hah, that hotel is probably kicking itself right now.

    September 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  11. lennon

    Her win was a fluke as her next game showed. I wouldn't call her a "tennis star" until she actually wins something.

    September 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  12. Andy

    Melanie is what we need today as teen idol. Keep up the good work young lady and you will be rewarded for your hard work and talent

    September 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  13. Bixby

    Way to go! I hope my daughter ends up doing somehing great like this someday...in softball anyway.
    The 2 of you are a lot alike.....even in appearance!

    Keep yourself grounded and out of trouble and most of all...stay strong.
    GOD BLESS YOU!

    September 10, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  14. Something Positive

    Rachel...couldn't you have just said congrats? As perfect as I'm sure you are and all, I'm thinking we've all made an honest mistake, misjudged, etc. Seems awful trivial considering Melanie didn't for one minute think about putting out another guest. Too bad we don't have more example of people like Melanie. She's truly an example to young people everywhere that if you work hard you're rewarded accordingly. Mighty good example considering what we've seen in the press of late.

    Great job Melanie!!!!

    September 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Kay

    Congratulations Melainie, you are an inspiration to all of us in so many ways.
    Stay on the path that has taken you to this point. Many blessings!

    September 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Dave

    How refreshing!!!! A real live 17 year old tennis star sports hero who is normal and grounded!!! Hopefully she stays that way and can continue to "go to the mall and movies with friends" without fame getting in the way!!! I'm looking forward to next year's U.S. Open already!!!!!

    September 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  17. Mike Cairo, NY

    Her first big endorsement should be for a hotel chain. They're probably lining up already!
    PS: Great Job, Young Lady! We were all rooting for you!

    September 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  18. Athir

    Melanie had great run, and brought a lot of positive attention to the tournament/sport. I did, however, think it was bad form on ESPN's part to interview Melanie first after the match.

    September 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  19. l hay

    Best of luck young lady, Keep God firs tand stay focused and you will go far in life.Best of Luck to You.......... Peace and Blessings.........

    September 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  20. Peter

    Congratulations to Melanie for an amazing achievement. She gave all Americans a great story and show to watch, and played some amazing tennis. I like how modest she is too. She has all this fame now but does not play the "do you know who I am card". She just moved to another hotel – no big deal. I really like that about her. You can tell she is just a regular girl, on a big stage. John Roberts in the last line claims that she is a big a name as Maria Sharpova, and then gets her name wrong and says, "Melissa Congratulations..."

    September 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  21. Teri

    Now these are the kinds of sports heros, or heck, just people in general that our kids can look up to. She will do well in life and I wish her the best of everything.

    September 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  22. Rachel

    They didn't have a reservation! Why should someone be out of a hotel room because the Oudin team didn't have the foresight to reserve for the whole tournament?

    September 10, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  23. DebDoes

    Congratulations Melanie on a great run! Finally, something that makes Atlantans proud,

    September 10, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  24. sam

    (:

    September 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |