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Melanie's Victory In Heart Award Means Hospital Donation

October 27, 2009 01:42 PM
Melanie Oudin receives her donation check from Lucy Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA, and Francisco Ricci Bitti, President, ITF. Photo by Ray Giubilo.

You've gotta believe in the heart shown by Melanie Oudin, especially as she's donating her award winnings to a Southern hosptial.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has announced that it will double the prize for Melanie Oudin, who became the inaugural winner of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award last week.

Oudin received the award at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Reggio Calabria, where she was presented with a special Links bracelet and a cheque for $5,000.

The cheque, which has now been increased to $10,000 by the USTA, will be donated to Oudin’s chosen charity, Children’s at Egleston – a hospital in Atlanta where her younger sister received open heart surgery when she was four-years-old.

“I am very proud to announce that the USTA Board and I have elected to add an additional $5,000 to Melanie’s award, so that a grand total of $10,000 can now be donated to her selected charity, Children’s at Egleston,” said Lucy Garvin, USTA President.

“I want to congratulate Melanie for being the first annual Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award recipient. We thank the ITF for creating such a meaningful award.”The award aims to recognize a player who has represented her country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to her team during the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas competition. Oudin received the most votes in a public vote on the Fed Cup website, and will receive a unique heart bracelet along with $5,000 to donate to her chosen charity – Children’s at Egleston in Atlanta. Alexa Glatch of the United States, and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone were the other finalists.

Oudin, 18, will be making her third straight appearance for the U.S. Fed Cup team after earning a key singles victory against Argentina with the U.S. facing a 2-1 deficit in February’s quarterfinal. Oudin has shot up the rankings in 2009 after a breakthrough year and is currently ranked No. 47 in the world. She defeated former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic en route to a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, and recently made headlines when she upset 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Dementieva and former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova in three set matches to become the youngest American quarterfinalist at the US Open since 1999. Oudin also won back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit titles at $50,000 events in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and Raleigh, N.C., in May.

“I’m so honored to be part of the U.S. Fed Cup team and winning the Heart Award makes it that much more special for me,” said Melanie Oudin. ”This year has been such an amazing year, and it  is really wonderful to be able to donate $5,000 to Children’s at Egleston – an organization that helped save my little sister’s life.”

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 85 countries competing this year. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles -- the last coming in 2000 -- and is one of eight nations which competed for the 2009 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com.




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