Tennis star Oudin to endorse AirTran

Friday, September 18, 2009

Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old Marietta, Ga., tennis phenom that captivated the nation with her performance at the U.S. Open, has signed on to be a pitch woman with AirTran Airways Inc., the airline said Friday.


Oudin will be featured in radio ads and billboards throughout the Atlanta area. Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran (NYSE: AAI) is the second-largest airline in Atlanta, as well as being the second-largest carrier at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport.

 


"I am thrilled to have AirTran as a partner as I strive to reach my goals as a professional tennis player," Oudin said in a statement. "It means so much to me that a local company is supporting me and I am truly excited about this partnership."


Oudin joins a stable of Atlanta and national sports celebrity endorsers for the low-cost carrier, which has its largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. AirTran's sports endorsers include Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver.


"Melanie Oudin has quickly become a household name in the world of tennis, and we are so proud of her accomplishments both on and off the court," Tad Hutcheson, AirTran Airways' vice president of marketing and sales, said in a statement. "Melanie joins a great lineup of celebrity endorsers including Indy Racing Star Danica Patrick, Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan, Atlanta Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk and Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning just to name just a few."


Oudin became the youngest women’s player to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams in 1999. She defeated No. 4-ranked Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova (No. 29) and Nadia Petrova (No. 13).


Oudin is now ranked No. 44 in the world, and is the third-highest rated American women’s tennis player.

AirTran recently took over as the official airline of the Atlanta Falcons.

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Oudin Is Ousted From the U.S. Open

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The prime-time spotlight, a swirling wind and a steadier opponent spelled an end for the darling of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, as 17-year-old Melanie Oudin faced the first seeded player she couldn't topple.

Despite the fervent cheers of a capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, another teen -- Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark -- proved the stronger competitor and advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

With a broad smile, Wozniacki apologized to fans for spoiling such a wildly popular story line by defeating Oudin, who had captivated audiences with her come-from-behind upsets of taller, stronger and more accomplished women, including former No. 1 Maria Sharapova.

Oudin returns to Marietta, Ga., having far exceeded expectations. In a sport increasingly dominated by women who approach 6 feet tall, Oudin made a statement about what's still possible for a self-described "normal kid" who's just 5-6, likes going to the movies and the mall, and plays board games and cards with her grandmother.

And she takes home memories that seem more like dreams -- such as shaking hands with Sharapova and being introduced to Roger Federer, who not only knew her name but knew about the matches she had won.

"For me, I'm a perfectionist, so losing today was a disappointment," Oudin said. "Losing isn't good enough for me. But the whole experience here that I've had is going to take me a long way, I think. I've gained a lot of confidence through this tournament, and I think I can only get better."

Despite Oudin's defeat, the U.S. Open's women's semifinals won't lack for teens who are easy to cheer.

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