Hosts putting the 'Family' in tennis cup

Shealy has hosted Oudin for three years.

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -{}Out of the hundreds of volunteers during the Family Circle Cup, only a handful are responsible for taking care of the players.

About 25 people volunteer as host families for the week,including the Shealy family of Mount Pleasant. They said Melanie Oudin, theplayer who spends the week in their home, has become a member of the family;she's even met them on family vacations to New York City for the women's tennistour.

Eleanor Adams, the tournament manager, set the Shealy familyup with their player.

"Trying to recruit our fabulous volunteers, we don't have totry very hard to retain because they come back year after year," she said.

Adams says they've been lucky to recruit volunteers likeJackie Shealy who is celebrating her third year as a host mom. For Shealy, thatmeans starting each day with a drive to the stadium with Oudin in the frontseat.

"I just tell her, 'Let me know your schedule.' And usuallywhen I know she's going to be here, I plan my schedule around her schedule,"Shealy said.

Shealy says the players' schedules can be non-stop at times.That's one reason she makes sure Oudin, the right-hander from Marietta, Ga.,doesn't go hungry.

"You know, I get her some salads, some protein and all soshe has kind of a regimented thing that she does. Of course, I have sweetsaround for her and take her out to restaurants," said Shealy.

She admits that she will sneak in a few sweet treats, but atthe end of the day her favorite part of being a host mom is watching Oudinplay.

"I go and cheer her on while she's playing tennis, and I'vegotten all my girlfriends involved now. She hears us yelling for her and I feellike she's my own child when I'm there," Shealy said. "I'm her mother, so Ihave to carry on line I'm her mother."

Oudin and the rest of the top female players in the worldtake the courts for qualifying matches. The main draw begins Monday. Shealy willbe in the stands for each of Oudin's match, hoping for a trip to center courtat the end of the tournament.

On average it takes about 350 volunteers to keep the FamilyCircle Cup running for the entire week of the tournament.{}

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