Davenport calls Madison Keys 'best hope I've seen for US'


Share
Originally Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013, 5:38 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 16, 2013, 5:43 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As a 4-year-old she watched Venus Williams playing on TV and fell in love with her dress.

So began the tennis career of Madison Keys.

"I really wanted a tennis dress," said Keys, now 17. "My parents told me that if I played, they would buy me one. I was like, 'Hey, I'll try it.'"

Keys now has a closet full of tennis dresses and enough talent to have reached the third round at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Ranked 105th and playing as a wild-card entry, Keys powered through the second round beating 30th-ranked Tamira Paszek 6-2, 6-1 in just 56 minutes — drawing accolades from people who are now watching her play.

One of them was retired three-time Grand Slam winner and fellow American Lindsay Davenport, who thinks that Keys has "incredible potential."

"Best hope I've seen for U.S. since Williams," Davenport tweeted, not clarifying if she meant the 32-year-old Venus — who owns seven Grand Slam titles — or younger sister Serena who has 15.

Keys broke into a big smile and blushed when told of Davenport's appraisal.

"It makes me really happy," Keys said. "I've been working really hard. I think it's starting to show."

After her match, Keys was ushered into the main players' news conference room at Melbourne Park, which is usually reserved for top players or the people who beat them.

A bit awe-struck by the attention, Keys explained that her introduction to tennis was "complete luck."

Both her parents are lawyers and nobody in her family plays tennis, but she loved it from the moment she picked up a racket, she said.

"Every single day, my parents fed me balls. Eventually it turned into having a coach, and then it went to being at an academy," she said. "You know, it worked out pretty well."

Keys turned pro on her 14th birthday, Feb. 17, 2009, and made her debut at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where she became the seventh youngest player to win a main draw match and the youngest since Martina Hingis in 1994.

At 16 years old she played her first Grand Slam at the 2011 U.S. Open, becoming the youngest and — at 455th — the lowest-ranked woman in the draw. She made it the second round and then won a wild card into last year's Australian Open, where she lost in the first round.

This year's Australian Open is her third Grand Slam and her best result so far.

She faces a tough test in the third round against Wimbledon semifinalist and No. 5-seed Angelique Kerber, of Germany, who beat Luci Hradecka in the second round 6-3, 6-1.

Unlike the jitters she felt at the U.S. Open, Keys said she feels more confident now.

"My first U.S. Open main draw, it was a big stadium and I wasn't really used to it," she said. "But I feel good about this one so far."

Her former idol, 32-year-old Venus Williams, had a good day, too, advancing to the third round after beating Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-3.

Asked what it feels like to have younger players look up to her, Venus laughed.

"I'm fighting the wrinkles and I'm fighting the battle of the bulge and everything," Williams responded. "I'm still slim and trim, thank you God."



















 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.








(More History)