US Open player Melanie Oudin, 17, is dating 15-year-old Austin Smith. Oudin’s beau may be younger, but he’s helped her with her confidence.
Melanie Oudin’s boyfriend Austin Smith is only 15 – even younger than the 17-year-old tennis pro – but he’s been handy with helping Oudin make the U.S. Open ranks.
Despite a leg injury and the intimidation of the arena, Oudin danced the court with “BELIEVE” inscribed on her shoe, an idea she got from Smith. Prior to the match, they practiced together in Arthur Ashe Stadium; later, Oudin went up against Elena Dementieva, ranked higher on Open’s list. Austin’s help seemed to yield improved results.
“During the match, I had confidence, and, I mean, I was right there with her the entire time,” Oudin was quoted in an Associated Press story. “She wasn’t blowing me off the court. She wasn’t hitting winners left and right on me.”
There’s a celebrity angle to athletics, of course, and at 17, Oudin only needs youth and ability to stay prominent in the public eye. She is in a similar position as another young tennis phenom who recently garnered significant media attention — but in her case, the focus was on one body part in particular.
Romanian tennis pro Simona Halep, also 17, recently underwent breast reduction surgery to help her play with speed and comfort. Halep was originally a 34DD before undergoing surgery for a more tennis-friendly size.
“The breasts make me uncomfortable when I play,” she said to a reporter this summer. “It’s the weight that troubles me – my ability to react quickly.”
Although her male fans may be let down by Halep’s less buxom physique, the surgery seems to have served its purpose. Just last week, the teenage tennis dynamo won a $25,000 tennis tournament in Maribor, Slovenia