There was a lot of interest in Melanie Oudin's sneakers at her press conference after winning he opening-round match against Olga Savchuk, 6-3, 6-0.
Last year, when she stormed into the quarterfinals as a virtual unknown, she had the word "believe" written on her sneakers. This year, when Oudin opened the tournament in Arthur Ashe Stadium, she had the word "courage" scrawled across the top instead.
Oudin, however, wanted to make it quite clear that she still believes in believing.
Said Oudin: "I wasn't trying to get away from believe. I just tried to pick a word that goes along with believe.
Oudin, at 17, was the youngest American since Serena Williams to reach the quarters at the Open. She hasn't been as successful since then, losing in the first round of both the French and Australian Opens and the second round at Wimbledon.
Oudin said that for the most part she has enjoyed the higher profile her run at the Open brought he last year, though it has led to some weird situations. She said that shortly after last year's U.S. Open, she was at a movie with her sister when a group of teen-aged girls recognized her. They followed her into the bathroom, and waited outside her stall so that they could nab an autograph.
Barbara Barker, aka meanbarb on twitter