Ten years ago, when Melanie Oudin and her twin sister, Katherine, were 8-year-old hitting partners in suburban Atlanta, Melanie didn’t require a tennis court, let alone one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“We would just hit wherever,” Oudin recalled Thursday after helping to announce a $60,000 renovation of the patchy hardcourts of Brooklyn’s McCarren Park underwritten by one of her sponsors, American Express. “I’d hit with my sister in the cul-de-sac right outside of our driveway. We’d make a net, but it wouldn’t even be a net. We would just put a bunch of stuff in the middle.”
Oudin reached the big time at Arthur Ashe Stadium last year, cementing her breakout summer with a pugnacious surge to the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
A year later, the No. 44-ranked Oudin slumps into the Open with a 17-19 record in 2010 and a women’s field that is wary of her after the signature, come-from-behind shockers she registered against Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova last year.
For her part, Oudin cites the self-belief that got her to the tournament’s second week and will help determine whether she returns.
“I was able to figure out ways to win even though I was down,” the 5-foot-6 Oudin said, “even though I was playing a lot higher-ranked players than me.”

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