U.S. Open Loss Behind Her, Madison Keys Accentuates the Positive

Keys, seeded 17th within the Australian Open, will face 44th-ranked Wang Qiang of China within the first round.

High hopes are not completely new to Keys’s career, which quickly accelerated coming from a fashion choice to a career choice.

Spotting the 1999 Wimbledon tournament on a television in her parents’ bedroom, a 4-year-old Madison decided she wanted the dress Venus Williams was wearing.

“the idea was a cutout dress, very racy, as well as the idea showed her back,” her mother, Christine Keys, recalled. “She was just walking through as well as she goes, ‘Oh, can I get one of those dresses?’ I said, ‘Well, you have to play that will sport.’ She said, ‘Oh, O.K.! Let’s do that will!’ Two weeks later, she goes: ‘Hey, when am I going to get that will dress? as well as the stick?’”

Her chance introduction to the sport revealed thunderous talent. After moving coming from Rock Island to Florida to train at the Evert Tennis Academy, Keys quickly attracted hype.

“At 12 they said she was going to win a Slam by the time she was 18,” Christine Keys said. “How unfair is usually that will?”


Christine Keys, Madison’s mother, said a tennis dress worn by Venus Williams drew her daughter to the sport at age 4.

Mary Mathis for The completely new York Times

Instead, her career has progressed steadily. Keys turned professional on her 14th birthday as well as broke into the top 100 just before her 17th. She first cracked the top 10 within the summer of 2016 at age 20, becoming the first American woman to make her top 10 debut since Serena Williams in 1999.

While Keys lacked a traditional high school experience, she said her adolescence was hardly short of the tension many girls experience, with the added factors of competing for titles as well as sponsors.

“the idea was constant, being compared to some other girls,” she said. “the idea still does happen; we still have a number next to our name. You kind of have to dissociate coming from that will. coming from a very young age, you had to not care what some other people were saying.”

Keys pointed to her relationship with Stephens, her opponent within the U.S. Open final, as one that will could have become particularly strained under the pressure.

“Sloane as well as I, since we were 12 as well as 14, have constantly been compared to each some other,” Keys said. “Sloane would certainly do something amazing, as well as I wouldn’t, as well as the idea would certainly be like, ‘Oh, well, you know, Sloane is usually just better.’ Then the idea would certainly flip, as well as go back as well as forth. the idea was amazing, because people were obsessed with comparing us to each some other as well as trying to pit us against each some other, as well as we were supposed to still have a normal friendship. that will’s something that will takes work, as well as takes acknowledgment.”

Keys continued: “We’ve definitely had to balance the idea out, as well as not focus on being jealous, as well as not make our ambition turn into jealousy. We’ve both done a genuinely Great job at continuing to stay friends no matter who is usually doing what, who is usually ranked where, or anything else.”

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