Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Was Going on in Oudin's Box?

Melanie Oudin (why do we assume that she's a sweetheart and not a mean girl?) lost last night, ending America's first outbreak of Oudinimania. I hope it works out for her. What American tennis has always needed is an Austin-Henin hybrid.

(By-the-by, I've always suspected that despite their flaws, we're going to really miss the Williams sisters when they're gone.)

But last night's coverage of the Oudin match was a perfect example of the insularity and clubbiness of the tennis media. A whole lot was made over Oudin's box, what with her twin, her bf, her coach, her little sis, her mom, all those Charm City-style "Believe" t-shirts and . . . what was missing? Oh, right, her dad! Turns out, there's a story there. Whoa.

All of this, however, is a wind up to note how unbelievably insipid Pam Shriver has become as a TV presence. Nearly every exchange she's involved in becomes about her--last night was at least the third time this Open that she informed viewers that she once bumped into Alec Baldwin on Sunset Blvd. But she went from annoying to slightly evil with the way she bullied Oudin into giving an on-court loser's interview immediately after the match last night--with a hot mic broadcasting the uncomfortable off-camera exchange. Maybe Shriver didn't know the mic was live. But she should be enough of a pro to understand that just like "all guns are loaded," "all microphones are on."

I'm not totally sold on Oudin being America's sweetheart, but she didn't deserve that.

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