Teenage American Madison Keys is one of a crop of young tennis stars who are now ready to take the world by storm.
Making the third round of this year’s Australian Open at only seventeen years of age made everyone sit up and take notice. Keys’ comprehensive 61, 6-2 victory over 30th ranked Tamira Paszek drew praise form all corners and now the youngster can count Lindsey Davenport amongst her fans. The now retired three-time Grand Slam winner Davenport said that Keys has “incredible potential". "Best hope I've seen for US since Williams," she tweeted.
Unlike the men’s game, the women’s looks to have a crop of young talent on the cusp of great things. The Williams’ sisters have been the bench-mark of brilliance in American women’s tennis for so long that their legacy is now catching up with them. Keys became inspired to play tennis when as a four year old she saw Venus playing and was impressed by her dress. She wanted a tennis dress, so she took up the game.
Apparently falling into playing the game by ‘pure luck’, both her parents are attorneys and no one in the family plays, but there is nothing lucky about he progress under coaches Adam Peterson and Ola Malmqvist, she is a dedicated and hard-working athlete and her game showing the fruit of her labour.
Keys turned pro on her 14th birthday, that year as a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms she beat reigning Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in singles with a score of 5-1. She became one of the youngest players to ever win a match on the WPA Tour, at the age of 14 years and 48 days, by beating world no. 81 Alla Kudryavtseva.
A very strong, physical player Keys is a right-hander and plays a two-handed backhand, she has very strong groundstrokes for a teenager and has a monster serve in her arsenal. Serena Williams said of her: "I also think that there are some players, like Madison Keys is like 6’2", and she’s very strong and she’s only 17. She has several years while she’s still a teenager to win a Grand Slam." Chinese no. 1 and world no. 6 Li Na said, "If Keys plays like this every match, she will soon be in the top 20, top 15 and then top 10," after a testing meeting with the American.
Coming into the Australian Open as a wild card entry and ranked 105th in the world Keys has shown enough promise to assume it’s only a matter of time before she counters her self among the top seeds in the world game. Watch this space.