Madison Keys, an American professional tennis player is making headlines this year. Best known for her performances in the 2015 Australian Open where she defeated reigning Wimbledon’s champion Petra Kvitova and veteran Venus Williams on her way to semifinals. She’s been regarded as the next big thing in women’s tennis. At the age of just 19, she has already defeated 5 top 10 ranked players in tennis, her victims being Li Na, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova. Her spirited performance against Serena Williams in the semifinals of the 2015 Australian Open prompted the 19 time Grand Slam winner to say that
“It was an honor for me to play someone who will be No. 1 in the future.”
Keys plays right-handed with a powerful double-handed backhand. She is primarily an offensive baseline player and her game is built around taking control of rallies with powerful serves, return of serves and forceful groundstrokes of both forehand and backhand wings. She is equipped with capable volleying skills and overheads complementing her powerful ground-strokes. What’s unique about her play is her serving style. Her serving action is rare and has a platform style rather than the predominant pinpoint style service motion. Maybe, this could be the reason of her inconsistent fast dominant serves over 100 mph. She also has a good defensive game and is capable of turning a defensive play into an offensive one.
Keys started making inroads into the history at the age of just 14, when she made her first appearance on the WTA Tour at the 2009 Ponte Vedra Beach Championships, where she received a wildcard into the main draw. She beat world no. 81 Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round to become the youngest tennis player to win a match on the WTA Tour. Her biggest moment came in 2013 when she claimed her first top ten win in Mutua Madrid Open, outclassing Chinese sensation Li Na. From then, there was an upward slope in her career as she reached her first WTA semifinal and finished the year with rank 37, a massive improvement of 112 places from 2012. Keys won her first singles title at the Premier event in Eastbourne, beating two top ten players, first Jelena Jankovic and then Angelique Kerber in a three set final.
Prior to the 2015 season, Keys secured the services of former American world number one Lindsay Davenport as her coach. At the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament under this partnership, Keys reached her first Grand Slam semifinal, defeating three seeded opponents along the way. First, she defeated 29th seed Casey Dellacqua in three sets in the second round, followed it up by upsetting reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets in the third round. After beating fellow American Madison Brengle in the fourth round, she defeated Venus Williams in the quarter-finals in three sets, despite looking injured during the second set.
Her dream run was eventually ended by Serena Williams but not before she became a household name and much touted future face of the Women’s tennis.
Edited by Shivang Aggarwal