Melanie Oudin Looking to Turn Things Around After Slow Start to 2011

Tommy KeelerCorrespondent IIIJuly 16, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21:  Melanie Oudin of the United States in action during her first round match against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia on Day Two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 21, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Melanie Oudin has no trouble recalling the wonderful memories of her great run at the U.S. Open two years ago.

The teenage blonde knocked off Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova to advance to the U.S. Open Quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows, New York. With each upset, the hype over this talented young American grew and grew.

Even though she lost in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki, it’s a time in her life Oudin won’t forget.

“I was so confident,” Oudin said in a recent teleconference. “I just went for it. I really went for my shots and it really worked for me. I was competing with the top players in the world and I believed that I could (beat them) and that was a huge thing for me.”

Oudin wrote the world ‘Believe’ on her shoes and now two years later she is trying to find that belief again.

In the next few weeks she will try to recapture some of the game that she had two years ago.

The last year hasn’t been as strong as Oudin would have liked. After reaching a career-high ranking of No. 31 last April, Oudin’s game has taken a nosedive. This season she has a record of 8-22.

With the success she had at the U.S. Open, a lot of added pressure was put on Oudin and she’s struggled to handle it.

The once confident groundstrokes aren’t there for her right now, but Oudin is staying positive.

Her ranking has fallen to No. 100 and this week she is scheduled to play in an ITF Challenger in Kentucky.

Oudin said she’s excited to play in the event.

“First of all, I love that tournament,” she said. “It was the first pro tournament that I ever won. The people there are so nice and I felt like going back there where I first started and won my first tournament. Hopefully it will be a good week.”

After that she will play in the Citi Open, a first-year event held at the University of Maryland’s tennis Center in College Park, Maryland.

She said she wasn’t sure about her schedule after that, but the most important thing was to simply play as many matches as she can.

With her ranking dropping, the pressure is off Oudin and this could be her time to turn things around.

“There shouldn’t be any pressure on me,” Oudin said. “I can just go out there and play at a high level. Hopefully, I can play like I did at the '09 U.S. Open.”