It all began when her grandmother introduced her to the sport of tennis. At age seven, Grandma Jo took Melanie and her twin sister Katherine to the courts in their hometown of Marietta, Georgia. She was hooked.
At nine, after watching Wimbledon, she set her goal to play there one day. She began training at the Racquet Club of the South (RCS Academy) in Norcross, Georgia. After seventh grade, with the support of her parents John and Leslie, Melanie opted for home-schooling to devote more time to her tennis. Her twin sister remained in public school and joined the high school team. Despite missing out the life of a ‘regular’ teenager, Melanie was determined to pursue her tennis dream.
Continuing to live at home instead of a tennis academy, Melanie’s heart and work ethic shone as she rose steadily through the amateur rankings. In 2007, she won 27 consecutive matches en route to four consecutive titles in the ITF Junior Circuit. A year later, in February 2008, she turned professional.
In the summer of 2009, with a triple-digit ranking, she soldiered her way through Wimbledon qualifying, surviving match points and eventually earning her spot in the main draw. Melanie arrived on the international stage, when she defeated former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic to make her first 4th round appearance at a Grand Slam. The win not only marked her first over a Top 10 player but also her debut into the WTA’s Top 100.
“Now I know that I can play with these girls and this is what I want to do and this is what I want to be.”
Later that summer Melanie made waves in the tennis world, capturing the hearts of millions of fans for her incredible run at the 2009 US Open. With come from behind wins over No. 4 seed Elena Dementieva, No. 29 seed Maria Sharapova and No. 13 seed Nadia Petrova, Oudin quickly became a crowd favorite. Driven by the slogan she had written on her shoes- ‘BELIEVE’, Melanie became the youngest American Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Serena Williams did it at the Open in 1999.