Austin Smith designed Melanie Oudin's shoes (pic here!) and prepped her for U.S. Open win.
Austin Smith is one of the hottest searches on the Web today. He's the 15-year-old boyfriend of tennis's new darling Melanie Oudin, 17, who beat Nadia Petrova and former No. 1 Maria Sharapova over the weekend.
And Austin's more than, um, an athletic supporter. Melanie Oudin was a U.S. Open dark horse when she qualified to compete in the Open's Grand Slam main draw on a wild card. She's turned out to be a spoiler, with big wins this weekend and reported matches upcoming against Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Melanie credits two-years-younger Austin with her champion weekend. Austin traveled with Melanie's family from their home state of Georgia to New York City to support Melanie during the Open. Himself an accomplished tennis player winning state titles in Georgia, Austin helped Melanie prepare for her high-profile matches last week by practicing with her on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium, surrounded by 24,000 seats. Love Buzz: First Miss Cougar USA Title Is Awarded
He also wanted her to wear something magic. To set her apart from the pack of pros who usually don clothes and shoes with their names or nicknames on them, Austin designed an emblem for Melanie to wear on her shoes that reads, "BELIEVE." Melanie planned to have Adidas custom-stitch her name into the back of her shoes until Austin designed the BELIEVE plate for the back of her pink and yellow tennies. Apparently the Open requires players' names to appear on their clothing, but Melanie went ahead with the alteration anyway.
Clearly it worked. Just a year ago Melanie was ranked 178 in the U.S., and indeed it appears Austin's faith is helping her shine. After this weekend's wins she told reporters, "I played with no fear today. For me, it's all about that. It's believing that I can beat these girls and hang there with them. If I didn't have that, then there's no way I'd...win today...That's how I won. I believe I can do it."
See a pic of Austin's famous design here. Looks like in the worlds of tennis, design and love, both he and Melanie may have victories ahead... Ask Matt & Tamsen: Is It Ok To Ask My Boyfriend To Marry Me?
Photo courtesy Flickr user mrlaugh.