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TENNIS

Melanie Oudin is a teen living a Wimbledon dream

The 17-year-old from Atlanta, who had never before won a match at a Grand Slam tournament, is in the fourth round at Wimbledon and loving every second of it.

June 29, 2009|Chuck Culpepper

Carefully for a young girl, she opted for home schooling because she'd started progressing so far in junior tournaments that she'd miss too much classroom time. After she roared to No. 1 in juniors, she weighed matters and opted to turn professional and defer entering a university. Still, Keeton said, "There's not this special Melanie court where she's off exclusively doing this training that nobody else can be part of. She trains with other juniors, eats at the grill, leaves her wallet in the bathroom" as she once did before Keeton found it and returned it to her.

It's just that she played well enough that she participated in an AIDS-benefit exhibition where the family met Elton John, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Andy Roddick, among others, and felt wowed.

And even with her challenged tennis height, she excelled against people who couldn't believe they were losing to a little girl until the whole thing reached a point where the family started to notice that some of the juniors the family used to put on pedestals went off to do other things in the normal maelstrom of life.

Meanwhile, Melanie Oudin went to Wimbledon and caused quite the stir.

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chuck.culpepper@yahoo.com

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