Madison Keys, the future of US Tennis? - UBITENNIS
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Madison Keys, the future of US Tennis?

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TENNIS – The Australian Open revealed US teenager Madison Keys on the Grand Slam stage. Keys has been considered the future star of US tennis since she won her first WTA match at the age of 14 when she beat Ajla Kudryavtsev at the MPS Group Tournament in Ponte Vedra (Florida). Keys joined the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton (Florida) at the age of nine and is now coached by Lindsey Davenport. Diego Sampaolo

 

Madison reached the quarter final in a WTA Tournament for the first time in her career in Sydney 2013 defeating Lucie Safarova and Zheng Jie before losing to Li Na in three close sets. Keys won her first match against a top-ten when she defeated Li Na in Madrid in 2013. She reached the quarter finals at the Aegon Classic on grass before losing against Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round at Wimbledon. She improved her ranking by 112 places reaching the World Number 37 in the WTA Ranking at the end of 2013.

Keys started the 2014 season with a semifinal in Sydney where she defeated Simona Halep before losing to Angelique Kerber. The US rising star won her first WTA title at Eastbourne defeating two top ten players Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber. She was forced to withdraw from her third round match against Yaroslava Shvedova at Wimbledon due to a leg injury. She finished the 2014 season in 31st place in the WTA Ranking.

Keys, daughter of Rick and Christine who work as attorneys, is now coached by former World Number 1 Lindsey Davenport who guided the teenager to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open after beating Casey Dellacqua in three sets in the second round before taking the scalp of last year’s Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and winning the match against another Madison (Brengle) in the fourth round. Keys beat Venus Williams in the quarter final in three sets despite a leg injury during the second set. She lost against Serena Williams in the semifinal but confirmed that she has a potential as a future top star. She entered the Australian Open ranked 35 but she will join the top 20 next week (she is projected at Number 20). Serena paid tribute to Keys after their semifinal saying: “It was an honour for me to play against someone who will be the Number 1 in the future. It’s great for me and Venus because we know that finally there are other Americans who are constantly playing well, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest”, said Serena.

Keys fulfilled her life dream when she beat her childhood idol Venus Williams 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the quarter final before losing to Serena in the semifinal. If she had beaten Serena, she would have become the fourth player to beat both Serena and Venus in the same Grand Slam Tournament (the only three players to achieve this feat were Kim Clijsetrs, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin). Madison started playing tennis at the age of four when she watched Venus playing at Wimbledon. Madison asked her parents if she could dress a white dress similar to that Venus was wearing at Wimbledon.

Last November she started working with three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsey Davenport and her husband Jon Leach. It was supposed that Davenport would have worked with Madison during the off-season but the teenager impressed Davenport that the former US star decided to take up her coaching role guiding Madison to the semifinal.

With her first prize money at the age of 14 when she won her first WTA match Madison bought a new mobile phone. With the money earned at the Australian Open she is planning a new handbag. “I told myself, I will go out and buy a Louis Vuitton handbag”, said Madison Keys

Madison Keys signed on as Sports Illustrated Kids Special Correspondent communicating with readers in a series of monthly videos on her life traveling the WTA Circuit. These videos feature her world travels, playing tournament, training and exploring new cities and spending time with her fellow players. She is featured in Sports Illustrated Kids magazine which has over three million readers.

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Garbine Muguruza moves into the second round in Dubai

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Last year’s Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza beat Irina Camelia Begu 6-3 7-5 after 96 minutes to move into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

 

Muguruza hit 23 winners to just 10 for Begu. The Spaniard earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead, but Begu pulled back the break. Muguruza broke for the second time with a backhand winner down the line to open up a 5-3 lead and consolidated the break with a hold to close out the first set 6-3. 

Begu went up a break twice in the second set. She served for the set at 5-3, but Muguruza pulled back on serve with a forehand winner off the netcord on break point. Muguruza broke again to take a 6-5 lead and sealed the win with a forehand winner. 

Muguruza has improved her 2021 win-loss record to 13-4. 

“Begu and I have played before, we have also trained together, so we know each other’s games. I gave her a big battle and in important moments I tried to be focused and be smart and efficient”, said Muguruza. 

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion will face Amanda Anisimova, who eased past qualifier Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-2. 

Elise Mertens came back from one set down to beat lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova 4-6 6-2 6-4. Tomova was a last-minute replacement for last week’s Lyon semifinalist Fiona Ferro. Mertens converted eight of her nine break points. Tomova broke for the fourth time in the opening set after a six-deuce game to clinch the first set 6-4. Mertens never dropped her serve and broke serve with a backhand winner down the line to seal the second set 6-2. Mertens went up a break at 1-0 and 4-2 but Tomova pulled back both breaks. Mertens broke to love to take a 5-4 lead, but she had to save two break points, as she was serving for the match. The Belgian player broke serve in the 11th game to close out the match.

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Naomi Osaka Brands Appointment Of Female Olympic Chief As Inspiration For The World

The world No.2 sees the development as one that let young girls know ‘anything is possible.’

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Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has hailed the recent appointment of a woman to oversee this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

 

Seiko Hashimoto was named as the head of the Tokyo Olympic Committee last month following the resignation of Yoshiro Mori. Mori was accused of being sexist after saying women should be limited to how much they speak during meetings because they talk too much. He said that if more female members were appointed to the board they will have to ‘make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.’

Controversy aside, Osaka believes Hashimoto’s appointment could have a significant impact on gender equality. A former professional speed skater and cyclist, Hashimoto have participated in seven Olympic Games which is more than any other Japanese athlete in history.

This is such an important moment for Japanese women, and women around the world; and I hope it’s an inspiration to a young girl with big dreams to know that anything is possible,” the world No.2 told the International Olympic Committee.

Osaka’s comments coincide with International Women’s Day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Tennis is considered as one of the top sports in the world when it comes to gender equality with equal prize money being awarded at every Grand Slam since the 2007 Wimbledon Championships. Last year Forbes magazine concluded that nine out of the 10 highest paid female athletes in the world are tennis players.

“I love seeing women in leadership roles like Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama,” Osaka commented. “In sport I’ve seen progress too, with women involved in various positions even in men’s sport, like Kim Ng, who is now the General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Then you have myself and Serena [Williams] as owners of NWSL [National Women’s Soccer League] teams – so I hope these kinds of leadership positions inspire the next generation of women and reflect some level of progress and change.”

The 23-year-old is a part-owner of North American women’s football team North Carolina Courage. Whilst her direct involvement in the club will not be substantial she will be acting as a ‘strategic advisor.’

Osaka is currently on a 21-match winning streak on the WTA Tour. Last month she defeated Jennifer Brady to win the Australian Open for the second time in her career.

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Elina Svitolina Admits Cut In Prize money Due To COVID-19 Affecting Motivation

The 26-year-old says it is not easy adjusting to the changes after being ‘spoiled’ by the WTA.

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Elina Svitolina says that a decline in financial incentives at tournaments could alter her schedule over the coming weeks.

 

The world No.5 says less money available at smaller events compared to previous years are having an influence on her decision to play them. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic tournaments across the world have been forced to slash or adjust their prize money pool’s. For example at this year’s Miami Open the singles winner will take home $300,110 which is a massive 80% reduction on what was awarded in 2019 ($1.354 million).

Svitolina will be the top seed in the upcoming Dubai Tennis Championships, which has also been forced to cut their payouts. This year’s winner will walk away with 68% less than what the previous champion won ($221,500 compared to $696,860).

“I had to adjust, like for example with my team, with my daily life,” AFP news quoted Svitolina as saying during her Dubai press conference on Sunday. “Maybe be a little bit smarter and I think for everyone it’s important to readjust because right now there is definitely a significant change in the prize money,”
“I think it’s really not easy for some players to adjust and for me, personally, it’s maybe also a little bit [tough] right now, because we’re a bit spoiled from the years that the prize money was really high.”

As of the week commencing March 1st, 2020, 26-year-old Svitolina is the 18th highest earning WTA player of all time in terms of prize money won. Her earnings currently stand at $20,112,704. This is more than what Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Li Na and Jelena Jankovic won during their entire careers. So far the Ukrainian has won 15 titles but is yet to reach the final of a Grand Slam.

Speaking about the current situation on the Tour, Svitolina admits she now feels more inclined chose to skip lower level events.

“Now for sure it gets into your head that you know you have less motivation at some tournaments to play because the prize money is much lower and you’re playing for example a smaller tournament and you’re tired afterwards to play a big one, so you would skip it,” she explained.
“So that, for sure, plays a little role in the motivation, in my opinion. Hopefully we can step by step improve and get back to where we were before.”

Recently the ATP confirmed revealed a series of new initiatives to support players during the pandemic including the use of a ‘covid-19 protected ranking.’ Although the women’s Tour hasn’t revelled any similar measures yet and it is unclear as to if they will. The WTA has already adjusted their ranking calculations.

Svitolina will start her campaign in Dubai against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova who she leads 4-1 in their head-to-head. It will be the fifth tournament of her 2021 season but she is yet to progress beyond the quarter-final stage.

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