American tennis pro Melanie Oudin says she will have a procedure Thursday for a heart condition, then surgery later this month for an eye problem.
“I don’t think my luck could get any worse. I just can’t wait for 2014 to be over,” the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. “A heart thing this week, and then an eye thing after that. I have lots going on.”
The 23-year-old Oudin said that for more than a year, she has been experiencing occasional “episodes” of an accelerated heartbeat, usually during — or right after — matches.
“I was convinced it was some sort of anxiety,” she said. “It’s been really frustrating. I played through matches having it, because I never really knew what it was. I would try to relax and take some deep breaths and let my body relax, and then I felt better. It kind of sounds like an anxiety attack.”
Oudin said she went for a medical check last year on her heart, but “everything came back completely normal, and I had every test in the book.”
Later in 2013, Oudin was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis (rab-doe-my-OL-uh-sis), a muscle-damaging condition which may be caused by intense exertion.
She said she was told by doctors there is no connection between that condition and her accelerated heartbeat, which she said was diagnosed last month as a form of arrhythmia known as atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia.
Oudin has been ranked as high as 31st and is currently 165th and looking for a new coach after ending her work with the U.S. Tennis Association.
In September 2009, at age 17, she followed up a run to Wimbledon’s fourth round with an attention-grabbing series of surprising victories, including against Maria Sharapova, to get to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.
Oudin, who is from Marietta, Georgia, will have Thursday’s procedure in Atlanta and, while saying “it’s not open-heart surgery,” she added, “Because it’s my first surgery ever, and something to do with my heart, it’s a little scary.”
“We are hoping that after I have this, hopefully I’ll never, ever have to deal with it again,” Oudin said. “I’ll never have to deal with it during matches; of course it’s been in my head. I feel terrible when it happens and I’m trying to play.”
Next will be the operation for what she called “a growth in my eye from the sun, being out in the sun so much.”
Oudin expects to be able to return to the court within a few weeks.
“I’m not going to start training,” she said, “until I feel 100 percent.”