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Madison Keys
Keys WM17 (3) (36050849651).jpg
Keys at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships
Country (sports)  United States
Residence Boca Raton, Florida
Born (1995-02-17) February 17, 1995 (age 23)
Rock Island, Illinois
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro February 17, 2009
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Coach Lindsay Davenport (2014–2015, 2017–)
Prize money US$8,708,519
Official website madisonkeys.com
Singles
Career record 237–132 (64.23%)
Career titles 3 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking No. 7 (October 10, 2016)
Current ranking No. 10 (June 11, 2018)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (2015)
French Open SF (2018)
Wimbledon QF (2015)
US Open F (2017)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals RR (2016)
Olympic Games SF – 4th (2016)
Doubles
Career record 16–28 (36.36%)
Career titles 0 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest ranking No. 115 (September 22, 2014)
Current ranking No. 312 (June 11, 2018)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 3R (2014)
French Open 3R (2014)
Wimbledon 2R (2014)
US Open 2R (2012)
Team competitions
Fed Cup F (2018)
Last updated on: May 28, 2018.

Madison Keys (born February 17, 1995) is an American professional tennis player. She achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7 in the world in October 2016, and has been consistently ranked inside the top 25 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) since early 2015.[1] Keys has played in one Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open, and also competed at the 2017 WTA Finals. She has won three WTA tournaments, all at the Premier level.

Known for having a big serve and one of the most powerful forehands in the game, Keys has used her unique playing style to become one of the leaders of the next generation of American tennis along with Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe.[2] She debuted in the Top 10 of the WTA rankings in 2016, becoming the first American woman to realize this milestone since Serena Williams seventeen years earlier. When Keys and Stephens faced off against each other in the 2017 US Open final, they snapped a streak of no American women aside from the Williams sisters appearing in a Grand Slam final since 2005. Keys has also had success on all surfaces, having reached at least the quarterfinal stage of all four Grand Slam tournaments.

Keys was inspired to start playing tennis after seeing Venus Williams's fashion sense at Wimbledon on TV. Originally from the Quad Cities in Illinois, she moved to Florida to train at the Evert Tennis Academy. Her coaches regarded her as a prodigy and believed she had a good chance to win a Grand Slam.[3] Keys turned pro on her 14th birthday and quickly showed her potential by becoming one of the youngest players to win a WTA Tour level match a few months later.[4] She also won a World TeamTennis exhibition set against then world No. 2 Serena Williams later that year. Keys first cracked the top 100 of the WTA rankings in 2013 at the age of 17. She then had her first major breakthrough at a Grand Slam in early 2015 when she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open as a teenager.

Contents

  • 1 Early life and background
  • 2 Junior career
  • 3 Professional career
    • 3.1 2009–12: WTA match win at age 14
    • 3.2 2013: Rising star, top 50 debut, top 10 victory
    • 3.3 2014: First WTA title
    • 3.4 2015: Major semifinal, top 20
    • 3.5 2016: Top 10, two Premier 5 finals, WTA Finals berth
    • 3.6 2017: Injury struggles, US Open final
    • 3.7 2018: French Open semifinalist
  • 4 Rivalries
    • 4.1 Keys versus Venus and Serena
    • 4.2 Keys versus Stephens and Vandeweghe
    • 4.3 Keys versus Kerber and Halep
  • 5 Playing style
  • 6 Coaches
  • 7 Sponsors
  • 8 Personal life
  • 9 Grand Slam tournament finals
    • 9.1 Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)
  • 10 Career statistics
    • 10.1 Singles performance timeline
    • 10.2 Doubles performance timeline
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links

Early life and background[edit]

Keys was born on February 17, 1995 in Rock Island, one of the Quad Cities in northwestern Illinois. Her parents Rick and Christine are both attorneys, and her father was also a Division III All-American college basketball player at Augustana College.[5] She has an older sister named Sydney and two younger sisters named Montana and Hunter. Keys's passion for tennis started at a young age. Her interest in the sport arose from watching Wimbledon on television when she was four years old. Keys asked her parents for a white tennis dress like Venus Williams was wearing, and they offered to get her one if she started playing tennis. Her father said that after this bargain, "All [Madison] did was try to hit balls into the next yard — home runs."[6][7]

Keys started out playing tennis at the Quad-City Tennis Club in Moline.[8] She began taking lessons regularly at seven, and began competing in tournaments at the age of nine. When she was ten years old, she moved to Florida with her mother and younger sisters so that she could train at the Evert Tennis Academy founded by John Evert and also partly run by his tennis legend sister Chris Evert.[9][10] At first, John said that he "thought she was very athletic, a raw talent physically. She definitely needed to be cleaned up with her strokes." Keys noted that her game was very different when she was starting out at the academy compared to how it is as a pro, saying, "I didn't like groundstrokes, I didn't like long points that much, so I would just run into the net and try and volley."[10] Nonetheless, Keys's coaches had high hopes for her.[3] Chris said, "At 12 years old, she's pretty much an all-court player; she's not one-dimensional, which is pretty rare in this day and age."[10][11]

Junior career[edit]

When Keys was 12 years old, she went 23–2 in her girls 12s matches, including a perfect 19–0 in 2007.[12] Her most notable title was a victory at the 12-and-under Junior Orange Bowl.[10] At the age of 13, Keys began competing in 18-and-under ITF events. In January 2009, she won the Copa del Café, a high-level Grade 1 tournament in Costa Rica, to become the first American winner of the girls' event in its 26-year history.[13] Later that year, her coach John Evert remarked that, "She's got weapons at a very young age. Most of the top players in the world have weapons, but it takes some time to develop them. Madison at the age of 14 can hit her serve or her forehand as big as most of the girls, and some of the top girls, on the pro tour."[14]

As a 15-year old, Keys played in just five ITF Junior events, instead opting to play in eight ITF Pro Circuit events over the same period.[15][16] Her best result that year was winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Grade B1 Pan American Closed ITF Championships, which is the highest level of regional tournament on the junior tour.[16] After the 2011 US Open, Keys moved to the pro tour full-time. She was ranked No. 16 in the ITF junior rankings at the time, a personal best. At this stage of her career, she was already 5' 10", serving at 115 mph, and could hit strong forehand and backhand winners.[6]

Professional career[edit]

2009–12: WTA match win at age 14[edit]

Keys holding the winner's trophy after she won the 2011 US Open Wildcard Playoff

Keys turned pro in February 2009 on her 14th birthday.[17] She made her WTA debut a few months later at the Ponte Vedra Beach Championships, having only played in one previous professional tournament where she lost her only match.[18] In her debut match, she defeated world No. 81 Alla Kudryavtseva in straight sets. With the win, she became the 7th-youngest player ever to win a WTA tour-level match, and the youngest since Martina Hingis in 1994.[19][20] Top seed Nadia Petrova knocked Keys out of the tournament in the next round. Due to the tour's age restriction policy, she was unable to enter another WTA tournament that year.[21] Nonetheless, Keys found another opportunity to play against the top pros by participating in the World TeamTennis league as a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms. Still only 14 years old, she beat Serena Williams in a six-game set by a score of 5–1. Williams was ranked No. 2 in the world at the time and had just won Wimbledon earlier that month.[22]

During her early years, Keys played mostly on the ITF Circuit, where she won three titles in singles and one in doubles. Her next opportunity to play on the WTA Tour came in March 2011, when she was awarded a wild card into the Miami Open. Keys was defeated by No. 41 Patty Schnyder in the first round, despite having a chance to serve for the match.[23] Several months later, Keys won an invitational playoff to earn one of the American wild card spots in the main draw of the US Open.[24] She defeated fellow American Jill Craybas in her grand slam debut to become the youngest match winner at the event in six years at the age of 16.[25] Keys also won an invitational playoff to compete at the 2012 Australian Open, where she was unable to get past the first round.[26]

2013: Rising star, top 50 debut, top 10 victory[edit]

Keys began the season ranked No. 149 in the world. Having made it to relatively few WTA main draws in previous years, Keys only played tour-level events in 2013.[12] In Sydney International, Keys reached the quarterfinals of a WTA event for the first time at the Sydney International, defeating Lucie Šafářová and Zheng Jie to avenge both of her previous Grand Slam losses.[27] For the second straight year, Keys won the Australian Open wild card playoff.[28] At the Australian Open, she beat Casey Dellacqua and No. 30 Tamira Paszek to reach the third round, before bowing out to No. 5 Angelique Kerber. With this success, she entered the Top 100 of the WTA rankings at No. 81 a month before turning 18.[29]

In the clay court season, Keys reached another quarterfinal at the Charleston Open before losing to one of her childhood idols, Venus Williams, in their first-ever meeting.[30] She next played at the Madrid Open and defeated world No. 6 Li Na, after nearly beating her in Sydney earlier in the year. This was Keys's first victory over a top 10 opponent.[31] Keys concluded the clay season with a second round appearance in her French Open debut. At Wimbledon, she used a second consecutive third round appearance to break into the top 50.[32]

Keys had a relatively quiet stretch following Wimbledon. In October, she finished her year at the Japan Women's Open in Osaka, where she reached her first WTA semifinal. She lost to the eventual champion Samantha Stosur. After a successful year on the tour, Keys finished the year ranked No. 37, an improvement of over 100 places from the start of the season.[33]

2014: First WTA title[edit]

Keys at 2014 Italian Open

In Keys's second tournament of the year, she returned to the Sydney International, where she her first Premier semifinal. She cruised past No. 11 Simona Halep in the first round before losing to No. 9 Angelique Kerber.[34] She next played at the Australian Open, but was upset by Zheng Jie in the second round after dropping a double break advantage in the final set.[35] In February, Keys made her Fed Cup debut against Italy. She lost her only singles match to Camila Giorgi, but managed to win the dead rubber doubles match with Lauren Davis as the United States lost the tie.[36][37] Keys again participated in Fed Cup in April. The United States lost the tie to France 3–2 and were bounced from the top-tier World Group. Keys won her first Fed Cup match against Alizé Cornet, but was unable to win her next singles match or the decisive doubles rubber with Sloane Stephens.[38][39]

Keys entered the Internationaux de Strasbourg having won back-to-back matches just once since Sydney. She was able to regain her form in France and reached the semifinal at the tournament.[40] At the French Open, she drew tenth-seed Sara Errani, a clay court specialist, and lost in the first round.[41] In the grass court season, Keys won her first WTA title at the Eastbourne International, a Premier event. She defeated two top ten players at the event, No. 7 Jelena Janković in the first round and a ninth-ranked Kerber in the final. This was her only ever victory over Kerber, who would dominate Keys in their future matches.[42] During the final, she also hit a 126 mph serve, which would have been the fifth fastest ever on record in women's tennis history if the tournament was officially collecting serve speed data.[43][44] The title made the 19-year-old Keys the youngest American titlist since Vania King in 2006, and the first teenage titlist since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.[43][45] Keys maintained that form to reach the third round at Wimbledon, but was forced to retire due to a leg injury.[46]

Keys won less than half of her matches the remainder of the season.[47] One of her best results came at the Cincinnati Masters, where she beat an in-form Cornet, before pushing No. 6 Maria Sharapova to three sets in the second round.[48] At the US Open, Keys was seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam at No. 27 but suffered a disappointing second round loss to qualifier Aleksandra Krunić.[49] She closed the year by reaching the quarterfinals at the Japan Women's Open.[50] Keys maintained a steady ranking inside the Top 50 throughout the year and finished the season at No. 31 in the world.[1]

2015: Major semifinal, top 20[edit]

Keys at 2015 Madrid Open

In the off-season, Keys began working with former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport as well as her husband Jon Leach.[51][52] With her new coaching team, Keys made her breakthrough into the upper echelon of women's tennis at the Australian Open. She upset reigning Wimbledon champion and No. 4 Petra Kvitová in straight sets in the third round.[53] In the quarterfinals, Keys got a second opportunity to face off against one of her idols, No. 18 Venus Williams. She defeated Venus for the first time in a tight three set match, despite injuring her left thigh in the middle of the second set.[54] This set up a clash with world No. 1, Serena Williams in the semifinals. Although she played very well, Keys lost the match in straight sets.[55] After the match, Serena, who eventually went on to capture the title, spoke of a bright future for Keys, saying, "It was an honor for me to play someone who will be No. 1 in the future."[56][57] With her first Grand Slam semifinal, Keys climbed into the top 20 for the first time.[58]

Keys was unable to carry her momentum through the early-year hard-court season. Nonetheless, she continued to impress once the clay court season came around. She reached the final at the Charleston Open, losing to Angelique Kerber after conceding a 4–1 lead in the third set.[59] As the 16th-seed at the French Open, Keys made it to the third round before falling to 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets.[60] She the continued her series of strong performances at the Grand Slams by reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.[61]

At the US Open, Keys advanced to the fourth round, where she was defeated by Serena Williams at a grand slam for the second time this year.[62] Keys finished the season with a high enough ranking to qualify for the inaugural WTA Elite Trophy, a year-end tournament similar to the top-tier WTA Finals for the top-ranked players who did not qualify for those higher level finals. Keys finished in second place in her three person round-robin group, ahead of Zheng Saisai who she beat and top overall seed Venus Williams who she lost to in a close match. She did not advance to the finals, which Venus went on to win.[63] After the season was over, Keys split from her coaching team in order to find a full-time coach, a role Davenport was unable to fulfill due to commitments to her family and to her job as a commentator.[64]

2016: Top 10, two Premier 5 finals, WTA Finals berth[edit]

Keys and Serena Williams at 2016 Italian Open trophy presentation

Keys began the year ranked No. 18 in the world. She reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, where she lost to qualifier Zhang Shuai in a match where she was ahead up until she started to experience pain in her leg in the second set.[65] She did not play again until Indian Wells. At the Miami Open, Keys produced another good result with her first quarterfinal at a Premier Mandatory event.[66]

During the clay court season, Keys hired Thomas Högstedt to be her coach.[67] She would drop Jesse Levine, who had been coaching her since the start of the year, from her team within the next few weeks.[68] Her new partnership quickly proved to be successful with Keys reaching the final at the Italian Open leading up to the French Open, her first final at a Premier 5 event and the biggest of her career. During the event, she defeated two top ten players in No. 9 Petra Kvitová and No. 4 Garbiñe Muguruza. She lost in the final to compatriot and world No. 1 Serena Williams in straight sets.[69] At the French Open, Keys breezed through her first three opponents all in straight sets before unexpectedly falling to unseeded Kiki Bertens in the fourth round.[70]

Nonetheless, Keys followed up a strong clay court season with an excellent grass-court season, highlighted by her second career title at the Birmingham Classic. With this victory at a Premier-level event, she moved into the top ten for the first time in her career at the age of 21, becoming the first American woman to do so since Serena Williams in 1999.[71][72] Compatriots CoCo Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens followed suit with their own top ten debuts in 2017 and 2018 respectively.[73][74] Seeded No. 9 at Wimbledon, Keys advanced to the fourth round, where she was defeated by fifth seed Simona Halep despite winning the first set.[75] Later that month, Keys reached her second consecutive Premier 5 final at the Canadian Open in Montreal, where she again lost to Halep.[76] Her next tournament was the Olympic singles event in Rio de Janeiro. As the No. 7 seed, Keys reached the semifinals, where she was eliminated by Kerber. She then lost the bronze medal match to Kvitová in three sets, narrowly missing out on a medal.[77]

At the US Open as the 8th seed, Keys was able to reach the fourth round after a miraculous comeback against teenager Naomi Osaka in her third round match where she was down 5–1 in the third set.[78] She lost to Caroline Wozniacki, thereby exiting all four Grand Slam tournaments that year in the fourth round. Nonetheless, Keys was still in contention for a spot in the WTA Finals in Singapore, being ranked No. 9 with the top 8 in the WTA rankings getting invited to the event. She stayed in the race by making the quarterfinals at the Wuhan Open.[79] She then reached the semifinals in back-to-back weeks at the China Open in Beijing and the Linz Open in Austria.[80] As a result, she was able to qualify for Singapore a week before the tournament.[81] Making her debut at the event, Keys defeated Dominika Cibulkova, but lost her other two matches. She did not advance out of the round-robin stage, with Cibulkova instead making it to the final rounds through the tiebreak criteria and ultimately winning the event.[82] Despite her successful year, Keys ended her partnership with coach Högstedt in November.[83]

2017: Injury struggles, US Open final[edit]

Before the beginning of the season, Keys had surgery to repair her injured left wrist, which she hurt awhile back at the 2015 US Open. She was aware of the injury in the middle of the 2016 and was planning on having surgery after the 2016 US Open. However, she decided to delay surgery in order to attempt to qualify for the year-end WTA Finals for the first time. Also during the off-season, Keys rekindled her relationship with Davenport and brought her back as her primary coach.[84]

Due to surgery, Keys missed the Australian Open and did not return to the tennis scene until March at the Indian Wells Masters. Although she would make it to the third round at the tournament, Keys would begin a long period of struggles that would last deep into the summer.[84] During this period, she also had a second surgery on her wrist after the French Open.[85] Keys did not win back-to-back matches again until the Stanford Classic in August. By this point, her ranking had fallen out of the Top 20. Despite entering the Premier-level tournament with only six wins on the season, Keys won the event after knocking out Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the semifinals, and close friend CoCo Vandeweghe in the final in their first ever meeting.[86] This was her third career title.[87] Keys then defeated Vandeweghe in her very next match at the Cincinnati Masters, but this time was stopped by Muguruza in the third round.[88][89]

Keys next played at the US Open. In the fourth round, she upset fourth seed Elina Svitolina to join fellow Americans CoCo Vandeweghe, Sloane Stephens, and Venus Williams in the quarterfinals.[90] All four of them would win their matches to set an all-American semifinal. This was the first time four Americans made the semifinals at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 1985, and the first occurrence at the US Open since 1979.[91] In the semifinals, Keys defeated Vandeweghe for the third time in a little over a month, losing just three games.[92] Stephens won the other semifinal. Keys and Stephens became the first Americans other than the Williams sisters to reach a women's Grand Slam final since Keys's coach Lindsay Davenport in 2005.[93] Bidding to become the first American US Open champion other than the Williams sisters since Davenport in 1998, Keys lost in the final to her close friend in straight sets.[3][94]

2018: French Open semifinalist[edit]

Keys entered the year having played in just one tournament since the US Open final.[95] At the first Grand Slam of the year, Keys defeated No. 8 Caroline Garcia to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second time. In this round, she lost to Angelique Kerber, one of her most difficult opponents.[96] Outside of the Australian Open, Keys won just one match in the first three months of the year. She ended the early-year hard court season with a retirement due to a left thigh injury against Victoria Azarenka at the Miami Open in Azarenka's comeback tournament.[47][97]

In April, Keys returned to Fed Cup competition in the semifinal against France. She defeated Pauline Parmentier in her only match to clinch the tie and put the United States in the final.[98] At the French Open, Keys produced the best result at the tournament of her career. She reached the semifinals without dropping a set to set up a rematch of the 2017 US Open final with Sloane Stephens.[99] This was the first all-American semifinal at the French Open since 2002.[100] Keys again lost to Stephens in straight sets.[101]

Rivalries[edit]

Keys versus Venus and Serena[edit]

Keys regarded Venus and Serena Williams as two of her childhood idols.[10] She has also frequently been labeled as a potential successor to the Williams sisters to lead American women's tennis.[102][103][104] Keys has never beaten Serena in three attempts, but does have a 2–2 record against Venus.[105][106]

Keys first played Venus in the semifinals of the 2013 Charleston Open, where Venus won a tight match 6–4, 6–4 against an 18 year-old Keys. Their next encounter occurred in Keys's breakthrough tournament, 2015 Australian Open. Keys won the quarterfinal match in three sets, overcoming a lower back injury in the second set. Venus would avenge this loss later in the year at the WTA Elite Trophy, which she would go on to win. Keys has won their most recent encounter at the 2016 Canadian Open.[106]

Keys's first match against Serena came right after her first victory over Venus at the 2015 Australian Open. Serena was able to end Keys's run in the semifinals, but offered high praise for her opponent. At the US Open later that year, she beat Keys at a Grand Slam yet again. In their most recent meeting, Serena defeated Keys in the final of the Italian Open, the first Premier 5 final of Keys's career. With the win, Serena extended her match win streak against other Americans to 16, and also preserved her streak of not losing to another American in a final since she lost to her sister at Wimbledon in 2008.[107][105]

Keys versus Stephens and Vandeweghe[edit]

Keys is close friends with Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe, creating a friendly rivalry between the three of them. In particular, Keys has said, "Sloane and I, since we were 12 and 14, have constantly been compared to each other."[3] All three have been ranked in the Top 10 by the WTA.[72][73][74] Keys is 0–3 against Stephens, but is 3–0 against Vandeweghe.[108][109]

Keys has struggled against Stephens, often hitting more unforced errors than usual in their matches. These errors result from Stephens being able to counteract Keys's powerful groundstrokes while also supplying power to her own shots.[110][101] Keys and Stephens first played in the first round at the 2015 Miami Open, which Stephens won in straight sets. They would not meet again until the 2017 US Open final in which both players were looking for their first career Grand Slam title.[93] Stephens defeated Keys in straight sets, which included taking the final eight games of the match.[111] Their next meeting also came towards the end of a Grand Slam in the semifinals of the 2018 French Open, where they were both trying to reach their second Grand Slam final. Stephens again won in straight sets.[108]

Keys and Vandeweghe have similar playing styles, both using their height to generate power and hit big serves.[112] They had never met until the summer of 2017, when they faced off three times in a little over a month. In their first meeting, Keys won the final at the Stanford Classic in straight sets to claim her third career title.[87] They were then drawn against each other in the first round of the Cincinnati Open, the very next match for both players. Keys won again, this time in three sets.[88] They next met in the semifinals of the US Open where they were both trying to reach their first career Grand Slam final. Keys easily defeated Vandeweghe in straight sets, only losing three games.[92][109]

Keys versus Kerber and Halep[edit]

Out of all the players who have been ranked world No. 1, Keys has most frequently faced off against Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. Both Kerber and Halep have been effective at using their counter-punching style to neutralize Keys's power.[96][113] As a result, she does not have a good record against either of them, going 1–7 against Kerber and 1–5 against Halep.[42][114] Many of these encounters have taken place in important tournaments. Both Kerber and Halep defeated Keys in the round robin stage of the 2017 WTA Finals to prevent her from advancing to the semifinals.

Keys' only victory over Kerber came in the final of the 2014 Eastbourne International to give Keys her first ever WTA title. This was their third meeting. Since this victory, Keys notably lost to Kerber in the final of the 2015 Charleston Open, the semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the quarterfinals at the 2018 Australian Open.[42] In particular, Keys would have won a medal had she defeated Kerber at the Olympics, but ended up finishing in fourth place just off the podium.

Keys won her first-ever meeting with Halep at the 2014 Sydney International. However, she has since lost all of her matches against the Romanian, including in the fourth round at Wimbledon and the final of the Canadian Open, both of which were contested in 2016.[114]

Playing style[edit]

Keys serving

Keys has described her own game as "I have a pretty good serve and a pretty good forehand, but what people notice the most is how hard I can hit the ball and how much power is behind my shots."[115] She has been listed at 5' 10" since she was 14 years old, which helped her play in pro events from a young age.[14] She has been able to use her tall frame to develop her style of play around hitting big serves and powerful groundstrokes on both the forehand and backhand sides. Keys's junior coach Chris Evert compared her level of power at 18 years old to that of Serena Williams, saying "I can almost say she almost matches Serena [Williams'] serve as far as power. Out of all the players out there, she comes the closest to Serena's serve. The power off both sides is tremendous for someone that young."[116] Keys is particularly known for hitting strong forehand groundstrokes. Former world No. 1 Karolína Plíšková, who is a heavy hitter herself, and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens have both said that Keys has the best forehand in the game.[117][118]

Although Keys prefers playing on hard courts, she has had success on all three main surfaces used on tour.[7] Two out of her three WTA titles have come on grass courts. Her least favorite surface is clay, which is typically regarded as too slow to suit players like Keys whose style revolves around hitting with power.[85][119] Nonetheless, she has reached a Premier 5 final on clay and also made it to the semifinals at the French Open, the only Grand Slam currently played on clay.

Keys preparing to hit a backhand

Keys uses her strong serve to dominate her service games. In 2016, she finished third in percentage of points won on serve behind only Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, among all players with at least ten tour-level matches.[120] That same year, she also hit the third-most aces with 300, trailing Serena who had 324 and Plíšková who led the tour with 530.[121] Keys could serve at over 100 mph (161 kph) when she was 14, and has been clocked at up to 126 mph (202.8 kph) on the road to her first WTA title in 2014.[14][43] Although that serve is not recognized because there was no official serve speed data at the tournament, the WTA has recorded her serving at 124 mph (199.6 kph) at the US Open, which was good for the fifth fastest serve in 2015.[44]

On multiple occasions, Keys has been recorded hitting groundstrokes at speeds that are comparable to, if not faster than the top men's tennis players. At the 2014 French Open, Keys had the fastest average groundstroke speed of any player at 78.9 mph (127 kph). For comparison, Novak Djokovic had the fastest groundstrokes on the men's side with an average speed of 77.1 mph (124 kph).[122] The Game Insight Group analyzed Australian Open data over a five-year period from 2012 to 2016 found that Keys had the second-fastest average forehand and backhand speeds of all players. Her 78.9 mph forehands trailed only Tomáš Berdych, and her 72.8 mph backhands trailed only Li Na. Out of just her fastest 1% of shots, Keys hit an average forehand at 97.1 mph, which was stronger than Lleyton Hewitt and close to David Ferrer. Her fastest backhands had an average of 90 mph, which was faster than that of Bernard Tomic and close to Nick Kyrgios.[123]

Coaches[edit]

When Keys was at the Evert Tennis Academy, she was primarily coached by John Evert. She also worked with his sister Chris Evert, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.[10] In 2011 after six years at the academy, Keys switched coaches to Adam Peterson, who was assigned to work with her through the USTA. Peterson is better known as a long time coach of Lindsay Davenport, who would also later coach Keys.[124] In her early pro career, Keys also worked with two other USTA coaches, Juan Todero and Jay Gooding, who helped her break into the Top 50 of the WTA rankings.[125]

Before the start of the 2015 season, Davenport and her husband Jon Leach joined Keys's coaching team.[51][52] During this year, Keys also worked with doubles legend Lisa Raymond.[126] Despite a breakthrough season, Keys left all three at the end of the year in search of a coach who would be available for a more full-time role.[64] In the first half of 2016, Keys hired Jesse Levine to coach her. During this period, she also worked with Mats Wilander for about a week, which amounted to little.[68] Near the start of the clay court season, Keys replaced Levine with Thomas Högstedt.[67] With this partnership, Keys had a fantastic second half of the year that culminated in her debut at the WTA Finals. Nonetheless, Keys split with Högstedt after the season due to a "personality conflict." In spite of the split, Keys did believe that Högstedt helped her game a lot.[83]

Keys reunited with Davenport at the beginning of 2017.[84] Midway through the year, she also started to work with Dieter Kindlmann.[127] Although Keys struggled early in the season in part due to her comeback from wrist surgery, Davenport helped lead Keys to a third title and her first Grand Slam final at the US Open later in the year. Keys ended her partnership with Kindlmann in May 2018, with the two having worked together for about a year.[128]

Sponsors[edit]

Keys has been sponsored by Nike since she was 14 years old, who provide her with clothing and shoes.[129][130] Wilson is Keys's racket sponsor. She helped launch the Wilson Ultra line of rackets in the middle of 2017, and specifically uses the Ultra Tour model.[131]

Keys is the first American ambassador for the French water company, Evian, which Maria Sharapova also endorses.[132] She has also endorsed Orangetheory Fitness, a company based in Boca Raton where Keys has been a long-time resident.[133]

Personal life[edit]

Keys at a FearlesslyGIRL summit

Keys looks up to Roger Federer because of his class and his positive attitude on the court.[134] Venus and Serena Williams were also two of her favorite players growing up.[10] Although she first liked Venus for her tennis dresses as a young kid, Keys also later admired Venus for her efforts in the fight to bridge the prize money gap between men and women in tennis.[30] She was also a big fan of her future coach Lindsay Davenport as well as Kim Clijsters.[135]

Keys is very close friends with Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe. She had an iconic moment with each of them after two of the most important matches of her career. Keys memorably hugged Stephens after losing the 2017 US Open final and jumped in Vandeweghe's lap after beating her in the 2017 Stanford Classic final.[136][137][138]

Keys is biracial, as her mother is white and her father is African-American. Nonetheless, she prefers to be recognized for who she is rather than her race, saying, "I don’t really identify myself as white or African-American. I’m just me. I’m Madison."[135] None of her sisters play or follow tennis.[139]

Keys is an ambassador for Fearlessly Girl, an organization dedicated to fighting bullying and cyber-bullying, with a focus on reaching out to high school girls.[3][115] She co-hosted the first summit for the group with founder Kate Whitfield in her hometown of Rock Island in 2016.[140]

As of the end of 2017, Keys is dating fellow American tennis player Bjorn Fratangelo.[141]

Grand Slam tournament finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 2017 US Open Hard United States Sloane Stephens 3–6, 0–6

Career statistics[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A A 1R 3R 2R SF 4R A QF 0 / 6 15–6 71%
French Open A A A A 2R 1R 3R 4R 2R SF 0 / 6 12–6 67%
Wimbledon A A A Q2 3R 3R QF 4R 2R 0 / 5 12–5 71%
US Open A Q1 2R Q2 1R 2R 4R 4R F 0 / 6 14–6 70%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 1–1 0–1 5–4 4–4 14–4 12–4 8–3 9–2 0 / 23 53–23 70%
Keys singles rankings history

Doubles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A A 3R 1R 0 / 2 2–2 50%
French Open A A 1R 3R A 0 / 2 1–2 33%
Wimbledon A A 1R 2R 1R 0 / 3 1–3 25%
US Open 1R 2R A A 1R 0 / 3 1–3 25%
Win–Loss 0–1 1–1 0–2 4–3 0–3 0 / 10 5–10 38%

Note: Keys received a walkover in the second round of the 2014 French Open, which does not officially count as a win.