Oh, those young tennis dollies! They show us promise and steal out hearts. We connect with them. Our loyalty goes unquestioned, even crossing national boundaries. These babes drive us relentlessly as we head to the backcourts where some of these beauties will launch their careers and where others will fade away. We love them. We root for them. We leave our seats, our wives and children to wander around and stand by a screen watching them chase down quiet shots in quiet places.
What better place to get to know them, to see their dreams unfold, than in Paris, where every dream can come true. So, get out of your comfort zone, let your heart wander just a bit and get on back there to those other courts where the dreamers are agonizing over the next shot, the next point and the next game en route to a career. The kids are back there. They have talent. They have game. All they need is you, one of you at a time and soon they too will be on center court. And, you, well, you will always be able to say you knew them then… when they were back there… trudging through Roland Garros, where dreams can come true.
Youthful, competitive, talented and just plain heart grabbing, Melanie Oudin is a player to watch. She is destined for greatness. She is likable. She is gorgeous and has a great big heart. She plays with passion and minds her tennis manners. Melanie Oudin is worth watching, worth leaving your seat to see.
At 17 years young, this right-handed fireball will be playing her way into the Open. As she did in the Australian Open, she will get there. In Melbourne, she gutted her way through the qualifying rounds before losing a hard-fought first round match that she would probably win today.
Melanie has a clay court game. Currently ranked 123 on the tour, the Marietta Georgia native’s star is about to rise.
Her career earnings are $132,000 and her 2009 earnings stand at $54,000. She turned professional last year and participated at the U.S. Open. This is her third Grand Slam event.
If you are smart, you will follow Melanie. Get out of your chair and head on back there, where the early action is. Little Melanie will win your heart, surprise you with her exuberance and leave you in awe of what you just witnessed.
Tennis fans already flock to watch Michaella play. A strong candidate for “best in dress,” the striking star hailing from the Netherlands recently celebrated her 20th birthday. Amazingly, she has been playing professional tennis for seven years. This is her first Grand Slam of 2009, but her 14th since 2005.
Tennis fans have watched her blossom into the statuesque, brilliant and glamorous athlete that she has become. Michaella is one of those gifted athletes and persons who would be good at anything. Tennis is just her current choice, but watch out modeling and hello Hollywood.
The world’s 128th ranked player is a busy gal. If you are in Paris, make a point to watch Michaella play. You’ll be back!
Last year, the sporty right-hander reached the third round at Roland Garros. She followed up that performance by reaching the quarters at Wimbledon before losing in the second round in New York.
Michaella has won more than $1 million in her career, but just $31,000 in limited play this season. She has the demeanor to score on clay and with a break in the draw, she could easily surpass last year’s performance. Michaella is a handful. Do yourself a favor and get out for the warm-up!
Okay, so she’s tiny, only 19 years old and has reached the second round in Grand Slam events just twice. That’s right. But, she has earned more than $1 million on the tour and a comfortable $49,000 this year.
Yung-Jan’s career is doing fine, thank you. She is progressing. Her two second round Grand Slam appearances were the last two tournaments she entered.
Yung-Jan is a good tennis player. She is the world’s 85th ranked player and she has been playing professional tennis since 2004. Yung-Jan is an accident waiting to happen for some favorite having a bad day, or who is just a hair off her game or who is looking past the pesky dynamo.
Yung-Jan is worth watching. Like her game, she does not go away. On the Roland Garros clay, she will chase shots down, hit spectacular drop shots and high lobs and then crush a two-handed backhand deep down the line. Wake up! Yung-Jan is on the court and on her game!
When 22-year-old Maria Kirilenko reached the 4th round of the Australian Open in 2008, it seemed her career was on track to become the next great Russian female player. She sure has the look, tall, blonde, legs that don’t quit, but something has gone awry.
Maria is in a slump. Her Grand Slam performances have fallen off. After a 2nd round exit in Paris a year ago, she has failed in the first round of the last three Grand Slams.
Maria is the 47th ranked professional. She has earned more than $2 million since 2001 and has earned $78,000 this season in singles and another $75,000 in doubles. Her career singles record is 136-123. That’s right, 136 wins.
Maria makes a living with tennis. The tour likes her. The fans like her. She may be headed to a career in doubles but we hope not. Maria is one breakthrough singles win away. Just one slip by an opponent, one break one lucky bounce from erupting. She has savvy, moxy and potential.
Maria is some lucky agent’s dream come true. Go a bit out of your way and watch one of Maria’s matches in Paris. It won’t be your last.
The 80th ranked WTA player hails from New Zealand. Marina turned professional in 2006. She played in her first Grand Slam events last year. Life on the tour has been an adjustment for the slender blonde.
After her 3rd round defeat at Wimbledon in 2008, Marina reached an enviable 49th ranking. He r career earnings are just $389,000, but she has earned $53,000 this season.
Marina was pleased with her performance at Melbourne. Although she lost in the 2nd round, Marina was competitive. Clay is her surface of choice and, barring an unfortunate draw, we look for Marina to reach the third round in Paris.