September 09, 2009

NEW YORK -- In her run to the quarterfinals of the 2009 U.S. Open, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin distinguished herself for exceptional mental toughness. Her focus and her ability to compartmentalize were further underscored by a potentially distracting domestic situation. According to records from Cobb County (Ga.) Superior Court, on July 24, 2008, Melanie's father, John Oudin, filed for divorce from Melanie's mother, Leslie. The couple were married in 1989 and have three daughters.

In his initial complaint, John Oudin filed for divorce on grounds of adultery, alleging that Leslie was "unfaithful during marriage." In her response to the complaint, dated Aug. 12, 2008, Leslie Oudin denied the allegation.

In a sworn statement made on Aug. 10, 2009, John Oudin specifically alleges his wife had been unfaithful with Melanie's coach, Brian de Villiers. "I didn't initial [sic] take any action regarding my early suspicions because I didn't want to believe my wife was having an affair with my daughter's tennis coach ... On December 29, 2007, I confronted my wife about whether she was having an affair with Brian de Villiers. I confronted Brian de Villiers separately. My wife and Brian de Villiers both admitted to me they were having an affair."

John Oudin also states in the affidavit that Melanie suspected the alleged affair. "Both [Melanie and her twin sister, Katherine] asked me point blank if I thought Mom was having an affair with Brian. When I asked why they had suspicions, Melanie told on one occasion she woke up at 1:00 a.m. in her hotel room and Leslie was not there. She called Brian's cell phone and connected with her."

In a temporary order dated Dec. 16, 2008, John and Leslie Oudin agreed to several conditions, including a stipulation "that [Leslie] will not interact with Brian de Villiers except as it specifically relates to the children's tennis activities ... [and] not to travel with Brian de Villiers to any tennis tournaments in which the children are participating."

Leslie Oudin has accompanied Melanie Oudin for her entire U.S. Open run. After Oudin's third-round victory over former No. 1 Maria Sharapova on Saturday, John Oudin traveled to New York for Melanie's fourth-round match against Nadia Petrova. He sat with the family in the players' box for the entire match, albeit a row up from his wife.

De Villiers, 51, has been coaching for more than 30 years and is a well-regarded developmental instructor. He was recently named United States Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year. He counts Luke and Murphy Jensen as former clients. De Villiers has coached Oudin since she was 9.

Said Melanie's agent, Sam Duvall: "The family has respectfully declined comment [on the divorce and the allegations] and does not want to discuss private matters." Through Duvall, de Villiers declined comment as well.

The Oudin divorce proceedings are ongoing. A mediation hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.

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