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 06:23 PM.