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Friday, September 4, 2009

US Open Junior Preview; Five U.S. Players Reach Final Round of Qualifying; USTA Announces Boca Residents; Ammunition For Weapons Talk

We're leaving very early Saturday for New York, so just a quick post to direct you to my US Open Junior preview at the Tennis Recruiting Network. I was surprised when I looked back through this decade's results how few top seeds had won, especially on the boys side. It was rare for the boys No. 1 seed to even reach the final in the past nine years, although there may not be any conclusion to draw from that limited sampling.

The Americans who are still in the running for a main draw spot in the juniors are Sekou Bangoura, Alexios Halebian and Nathan Pasha on the boys side; Courtney Dolehide and Noel Scott will reach the main draw with wins on Saturday. The draws and order of play can be found here.

The USTA has announced the names of the 13 boys and six girls who are training at the Boca Raton Center this school year in this release.

Diane, whose blog Women Who Serve is daily reading for me, posted a thoughtful and convincing post entitled "Melanie Oudin, another unarmed winner". As the title suggests, this goes straight to the "weapons" question that has been such a hot topic on this site in the past several weeks. I am tempted to keep this link handy for a response to that charge, which so frequently crops up here.

And speaking of comments, please remember that no anonymous comments will be published. Select a name (url not necessary) so that conversational responses can be followed. Also, please understand that next week is extremely busy for me, and I am not always able to review comments right away. If you are in New York, please introduce yourself--I always wear a straw hat with a leopard print hatband.

Also, it's my first US Open on Twitter, which I hope to use regularly, but I have been hearing that the A T & T coverage is iffy at the USTABJKNTC, and may be more so during the holiday weekend, which is entirely sold out.


tony said...

collette, the link for the new residents at boca is not working properly.

Colette Lewis said...

Thanks tony;
It was set to require sign in. I've changed it, so please let me know if it still doesn't work.

Jerry said...

Boca residents: boys I do not know (at least some), but when it comes to girls I suppose USTA determined that the future tennis champions will be 5'2" tall.

Austin said...

My disgust for network tennis coverage just increased. We cant watch the online matches today because CBS wont let them show it. Awful.

Jon King said...

Did I miss something? Did Oudin win a major or multiple Grand Slams? So far she has not won anything so how is she an example of winning with no weapons??

And that post mentioned Chris Evert who could play angles, use touch, and construct a point better than anybody. Those are all weapons.

Nobody says weapons are just hard hit strokes.

But Oudin is 18 in 2 weeks, no kid in women's tennis terms....let her win something before using her as an example of anything. So far she is just another of 1000s of players in tennis history who have had nice 2 months-3 months of play.

Austin said...

How awesome was it that CBS didnt show us an intense 4th set with the crowd going crazy so they could bring us the first two games of a womens match with a lifeless crowd?


tennisforlife said...

Congratulations Melanie!! Some crow for Jon King and shame on Sharapova for her cynical use of the medical time out at 2-3

Eric Amend said...

Jon King-Melanie Oudin hater extraordinaire,

How's that taste?? It's almost as if she's feeding off of your negativism!!!

Please, Please, Please... keep posting your drivel so all of us can keep chuckling at your expense!!


P.S. She's STILL 17, one day closer to 18, but 17 nonetheless!!!

Eric Amend said...

One more thing Jon,

I GUARANTEE that there ARE NOT thousands of players who have had the three BIG wins over Top 10 players that Oudin has had in Grand Slams by the age of 17, or any other age for that matter.

Just another one of your delicious quotes!!!!

AND... Mealnie was CRUSSSSSSSSHING Forehands so, YES, she DOES have a weapon

Kim in Florida said...

I get that she is an American so we are jazzed up. But to me Oudin is a pusher who hits 85 mph serves and spends 3/4s of the time slicing backhands. She has a decent forehand, not "crushing" by any means as another poster said. Once the other players get a book on them these pushers don't win much. She has caught women's tennis at a time when hardly anyone is playing well. But I doubt we will be talking about Oudin a year from now.

3-0 said...

3-0 against top 10 players. Who else can boast that? Let it soak in haters (esp Jon King)! Melanie Oudin is here to stay and dominate!

Jerry said...


Sorry (NOT), but you do not have a clue! Federer slices 50% of his forehands, it is a way to break the opponents rhythm. Melanie plays great, mixes things up, and has a great attitude!

T said...

Slice is a weapon against a tall opponent who cannot move well. It kept the ball out of Sharapova's strike zone. Against a smaller agile opponent Oudin will probably play differently. There were less slices during the match with Dementieva. Next time you watch Federer pay attention how many slices he hits. He is probably a pusher too.

Eric Amend said...

Kim, Kim, Kim,

Stop drinking the "Jon King" kool-aid, it's not good for your health!!

Melanie is not a pusher, she's not even a counter-puncher. She was dictating from the baseline and even outhit Maria several times with both sides but she does have the capibility to crush a forehand when the opportunity exsists.

I suggest you watch that match again.

P.S. There are PLENTY of girls who have weak serves yet overcome that weakness, Dementieva being one of them!!

Sam said...


So please tell me. Was Justine Henin a pusher as well? Cause she sliced 3/4 of her backhands didn't she? And she was short. And she didn't have a "crushing" forehand. So please, tell me. How did she become #1 in the world and so dominant in women's tennis?

wi tennis said...

oh that tasty crow! isn't the point of tennis.... to win! whether with slice, without slice, with weapons, without weapons. Sure one year doesn't make a career, but well done today, Oudin! To me heart and desire are two underestimated weapons. They are not tangible or completely measureable like a 120 mph serve, but they help you to win matches. Time is usually the best indicator of who has heart & desire, and who doesn't.

David said...

Kim, if Oudin is nothing more than a pusher, what is there to figure out? Pushing is nothing that these players haven’t encountered before. Obviously you’re missing something.

I get the impression that some of you have a disdain for the style of play that you describe as pushing, which I think is influencing your view on how effective a player can be without great power. I can’t help but think of what many of you must have been saying about Andy Murray a few years ago, and look at him now. (Yeah, I know, he hasn’t won a major, but he’s undeniably an elite player.)

These discussions remind of the disdain that some “old school” football fans have for the forward pass, and especially for spread offenses. They hate the style of play so much that it prevents them from acknowledging its merits. They just dismiss it as “gimmicky” and suggest that it’s not “real football.” In the same way, I get the sense that some won’t respect Oudin as a player regardless of what she accomplishes.

There is more to tennis than size and power, a fact that is demonstrated time and time again, yet some remain in denial about it. I’ll never understand it. “Weapons” has come to have a very narrow definition. I consider speed, consistency, variety, footwork, relentlessness, and composure weapons, qualities Oudin has. She is also more powerful than she’s given credit for. Her baseline groundies really are not that weak. (Her forehand got the best of Sharapova on numerous occasions. )

It’s unlikely that Oudin is a flash in the pan. Maybe she won’t win a Slam, but to say that we’ll never hear from her again is pretty na├»ve in my view. She has too many positive attributes to fade into obscurity.

been-there said...

So what is someone who isn't huge and doesn't have a lot of power supposed to do? Just give up and leave it to the slow moving giants?