By Carrie Rupp, USTA.com
Melanie Oudin’s Cinderella story came to an end on September 9 with a quarterfinal round loss to Caroline Wozniacki at the 2009 US Open, but the impact the 17-year-old has had in the homes of tennis fans all over the United States has yet to fade. Her impact is present in Las Vegas thanks to Des Moines, Iowa’s Angela Beaver who is following in the footsteps of Oudin…literally.
You can’t miss Beaver, a member of the 4.5 women’s team from USTA Missouri Valley, as she prepares to take the court. With her Melanie Oudin custom Adidas sneakers laced tight, Beaver can hardly stand still.
“They are awesome. I love them,” Beaver said. “They make me want to move my feet.”
Like most of the nation, Beaver was inspired by Oudin’s US Open run so much that Beaver even thought of Oudin’s tenacity while in Oklahoma City at the USTA Missouri Valley Section Championship.
In a match full of adversity, including Beaver suffering from cramping, she and her partner found themselves down 6-1 in a super tiebreaker. Beaver thought back to Oudin’s motto – “Believe” – and continued to press on, winning the tiebreaker 10-6.
“We just never gave up even when we were that far down,” Beaver said. “And it just made me think of her – we just never gave in and either did she – she just kept fighting till the very end…I really liked that about her.”
With Beaver and her partner’s contribution, their team clinched the section title, securing a bid to the 4.5 Adult National Championships.
Just a week before the start of the championships, Beaver celebrated her 40th birthday with family and friends, including her sister Jennifer Steinke. Steinke’s gift to her sister – the purple and yellow custom Melanie Oudin sneakers with the word “Believe” emblazed on the heel.
“I knew Angela enjoyed Melanie’s story and admired her strength,” Steinke said. “I thought the sneakers would be a good gift to remind her that she and her team are capable of doing well at national championships, even though they know it’ll be tough, they just need to believe.”
With her own personal cheering section including her daughters, husband, mother, sister and nieces, Beaver is hoping to help her team reach its next goal – a national championship win in Las Vegas. Should Beaver face a moment of adversity during one of her upcoming matches, a simple glance at her shoes will help her remember to believe.