Anyone who knows me knows that I love tennis. If I can find me one good tennis partner here in Jacksonville, I would probably play every single day. It's good for fitness and cardio, so Lord knows I need to get out there.
Last week and this week, I have been following the US Open. For those of you that aren't tennis-minded, it's one of four major championships in the tennis world. It usually draws big names like Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, and Andy Roddick, amongst others.
However, I have really been getting into the story of this little girl named Melanie Oudin, who hails from Marietta, Georgia. I don't mean the "little" comment disrespectfully in the least regard. She's quite small, 5'6", and only - get this - 17 years old, but she has a mean game. She put a name for herself in tennis by beating former No. 1 ranked Jelena Jankovic in the third round of this year's Wimbledon (another major tournament), but she is now well-known for defeating #4 ranked and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Elena Demetieva; #29 seeded and another former #1 Maria Sharapova; and #13 seed Nadia Petrova, each of them in three sets. To beat all of those in the course of five days is insurmountable. With Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, James Blake, and Andy Roddick all eliminated, she and Serena are the only ones I'm really looking out for. This girl is amazing!! She'll definitely be a player to watch from this day on, even if she doesn't win the tournament. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she even got to the finals...she said it herself: "This is really good for American tennis." I couldn't agree more; with the Williams sister being pretty hit or miss, she is the next highest ranked American woman; and she's ranked 70. Serena is currently at 2, Venus 3 (but she'll go down to 4 or 5 depending on the rest of the tournament), and Melanie Oudin at 70? Yes indeed; GREAT for women's tennis.
Given that there's no real American contender for the men's side, I'm looking forward to her playing more in the coming years. She reminds me of a younger Martina Hingis: not much power but supreme finesse. The only American male left in the draw is the 6'9" John Isner, but he's not much of a real player going up against the likes of Nadal, Federer, or even Djokovic. We'll see; but for now, it's all about Melanie...oh, and Serena too. LOL.
Just being honest; Serena would totally beat Melanie, but I think Melanie would give her some go. We'll see...