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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

This one is for fans of Oudin, fans in general who study players game styles etc and our American friends who may have a view on this.

I watched Oudin closely for 3 matches at this years US Open. I also watched both Oudin matches against Pannetta and Schiavone in the Fed cup final over the last two days ( I have Rai Sport satellite channel).

I really like Oudin's game a lot, I look forward to seeing more of her in future and think she has a great attitude and spirit to get to the top (that's more than half the battle to get to the top). Melanie also has very good court craft and can out think her opponents plus a technically good backhand slice, court craft is an aptitude you can't teach, some players have that within them and its a great quality to have. So I have high hopes for Oudin.

There are two areas of her game that concerns me right now (granted she is 17 and hopefully will improve over time anyway). But these are two technical areas which need fixing now before it becomes a problem she has to carry through her career. I think Melanie's serve and forehand are two technical weaknesses - these are two parts of the game that takes players to the very top. First of all I know Melanie isn't tall but she seems to have a problem of getting lift on the ball to get it over the net consistently, her double faults tend to hit the net as opposed to going long so she's not getting enough height on the ball, or enough topspin to loop it to get a high bounce on pitching. At Melanie's height, hitting flat serves is not a good option so she needs to address this.

As for Melanie's forehand - this is a shot that breaks down under pressure a lot. But what concerns me is that it breaks down even when she is not under any pressure at all, ie where the ball is in a comfortable position on the court and she still makes an error - so I think its a big technical issue. In the two matches in the Fed cup final, she made an incredible amount of forehand errors when she was under no duress and it cost her a lot of free points and ultimately lost confidence which is the reason she lost the 2nd sets in both matches so badly after losing tight 1st sets.

Melanie's forehand seems slightly old school to me, it reminds me of players like Katerina Maleeva from years gone by, she has an almost straight take back and swing, and slaps at the ball often, so I think she is not getting consistent higher clearance over the net with consistent topspin, and consequently a lot of uneccessary errors.

I was wondering if anyone else has made these observations or any other observations about her game? Do you think she has the game and attitude to go far if she can iron out these technical issues?

If we look at other young players like Chakvetadze, Vaidisova, they haven't ironed out their technical issues and now their confidence is shot, Ivanovic is falling not just due to injuries but she also has technical issues in her game which haven't been resolved - I hope Oudin can avoid that sort of fate.

What do you guys here think?

Last edited by laurie; Nov 8th, 2009 at 07:23 PM.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Her serve is a liability indeed. But i acutally liked her old school forehand for some reason, while at the Usopen. But she definetly needs to get more topspin on her forehand, its a bit too flat, that won´t work ok clay. Time will tell.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Her bh suck badly,If players serve to her bh they get a short ball or force her on it.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:31 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

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Originally Posted by laurie View Post

If we look at other young players like Chakvetadze, Vaidisova, they haven't ironed out their technical issues and now their confidence is shot, Ivanovic is falling not just due to injuries but she also has technical issues in her game which haven't been resolved - I hope Oudin can avoid that sort of fate.

What do you guys here think?
As far as Chaky goes,I think her technique was always very strong. For some obscure reason, she changed her service motion to an abbreviated one (the latest craze ) and she started not only double faulting more but she had less pop on her serve!!! and her confidence went downhill. (I think the whole kidnapping incident has a lot to do with the drop in her level of play too).

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:34 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

the problem with Oudin's serve is that she uses a forehand grip when hitting it. anyone who has hit that way knows that you can't attain the same velocity of a serve hit with a continental backhand grip. she needs to change the grip during the off-season and get more pop in that serve.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Oudin's serve just looses the legs, so to speak, on the second. Major decelleration issues there, with the left shoulder dropping quickly too.

Her backhand fluctuates between a positive driving-shot and then a retractive looking shot, where her body weight is going backwards and devaluing the effectiveness of the stroke.

For all her defensive efforts too, her footwork can become stilted.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:44 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

I felt like she wasn't prepared to play Wozinaki (or had strictly underestimated her). Wozinaki has displayed the ability to play a tactically dynamic game. Most of those dynamics focus on HP. She has the ablity to turn around anything less a winner on a better than average basis.

That being the case, Oudin seemed to recognize there were two options. And that was to Wozinaki's advantage that such tactics work more often than not. Or at least there was always something she had available that would have worked good enough.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:44 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

I think she can compensate her weakness on serve and forehand with her great defense, her brilliant footwork and her very nice counterattacks. I don't think that Wozniacki has a much better serve or/and forehand and she is one of the best players in the world at the moment. So IMO there is no problem for Oudin.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:48 PM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Her FH was the saving grace in the matches against Italy, hitting some nice FH DTL. She definitely needs to work on serve and strength. She should use the off-season to train and become more powerful.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 12:25 AM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Oudin's forehand is just naturally a well-timed, clean shot. It wouldn't hurt her at all if she added a bit more top spin. In fact, at her height is it very difficult to hit consistently through the ball without using spin. As you referenced, the ball finds the net more often than it should if a match is to be won.

I think her mental state is already very good and much more mature than her age would suggest. It will be a matter for Oudin of staying healthy and just working extremely hard throughout her entire career. She is not the type of player who will just be able to turn it on without playing a lot of matches or practices.

If she keeps going on the path she is now, I don't see many obstacles between her and top twenty.

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 12:58 AM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Interesting discussion, guys/gals.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 01:52 AM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

Her backhand wasn't as big as a liability in the US Open as it was this weekend.

I like her forehand a lot but I can see what you mean. Her slice is good and it can improve anymore and can be hell for some of these girls on tour.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

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I think she can compensate her weakness on serve and forehand with her great defense, her brilliant footwork and her very nice counterattacks. I don't think that Wozniacki has a much better serve or/and forehand and she is one of the best players in the world at the moment. So IMO there is no problem for Oudin.
While I don't want to comment on her forehand because it's probably her weakest stroke, Caroline's serve is MILES ahead of Melanie's. She can hit it hard when she wants to (and she's a relatively tall girl, so the trajectory is higher) and when she doesn't hit it hard, she places them really well. Caro's serve is terribly underrated. It's not very attackable.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

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Interesting discussion, guys/gals.
Hehe - I meant the phrase in a plural sense - guys and girls, ladies and gentlemen.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Melanie Oudin - A technical discussion

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the problem with Oudin's serve is that she uses a forehand grip when hitting it. anyone who has hit that way knows that you can't attain the same velocity of a serve hit with a continental backhand grip. she needs to change the grip during the off-season and get more pop in that serve.
That's an interesting observation, I'll have to look at that next time I watch her play. Hitting serves with a forehand grip is very limiting.
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