After continuing to struggle with expectations and nerves, American Melanie Oudin has made a change in her coaching team - hoping it would lead to a change in her fortunes.
Oudin has split with her longtime private coach Brian DeVilliers and is now being coached by the USTA's Tom Gullikson on a try-out basis. DeVilliers had been Oudin's coach since the juniors, but she has dropped to No. 141 in the world from a career high No. 31 in April 2010.
Oudin had earlier said that the slump was enitrely her fault and not DeVilliers', as she was playing well in practice yet freezing up in her matches, but she approached the USTA at the U.S. Open in search of a new solution.
Last week, Oudin won her first non-retirement match since mid-June when she beat Kurumi Nara in the first round of the Albuquerque Challenger. She then fell to Regina Kuliokova in the second round. The 20-year-old will contest the Lexus of Las Vegas Challenger this week.
Oudin did win the US Opem mixed doubles title with fellow teenager Jack Sock earlier this month.
Oudin became America's sweetheart during her magical and improbable run into the US Open quarter-finals in 2009 at the age of 17 and became a celebrity overnight. Since then, she has failed to replicate that form and has struggled to live with the expectations when she steps out on court.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.