madison keys: moving better, knowing what she wants, giving back



The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013 A decal of Madison Keys appears inside the American Express Fan Experience, a hospitality suite installed on the grounds of the 2013 US Open.

Madison Keys has better knowledge of her game. The fifth-best American on the WTA Tour has had a solid year, reaching the quarterfinals at events in Birmingham and Charleston, and making her way through qualifying before falling in the second round of the main draw in Madrid.

Keys was scheduled to face seed Jelena Jankovic in her opening match at the 2013 US Open. “I was telling people that I felt like I was going to have a seed in the first round,” said Keys by phone from her hotel in New York City. Thus, a match-up against a former World No. 1 was not a surprise. The Serbian Jankovic, who has had a resurgence in her own game after a mental refocus that started early this year, defeated Keys in straight sets.

This loss is only a slight setback to what has been a successful year for Keys, who is now ranked 39th. “Pieces of my game have come together a little better,” shared Keys. “I have a better idea of how I want to play and when I’m going to do certain things [on the court].” Keys also credits better movement on the court for her rise in the rankings.

The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013
A fan at the US Open American Express Fan Experience watches as his tennis strokes are translated into visual art and sound.

The 18-year-old was also one of three American tennis players – Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock are the two others — showcased in the American Express Fan Experience, set up on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 2013 U.S. Open. Of the many interactive exhibits, Keys showed interest in the display that turns groundstroke swings into music and art. We asked her what genre of music would best describe her tennis style; she said it would be “smooth” with a little crazy.

Keys was also instrumental in the erection of three new tennis courts at the Hodge Park Community Tennis CEnter in Rock Island, Ill., where Keys is from.

“I am really proud to be here today to help support this Fresh Courts program created by USTA and American Express, and to help support tennis communities like this, especially the one here in Rock Island where I grew up,” said Madison Keys to the Rock Island, IL community during the ceremony.

(Getty Images courtesy of American Express)

american express at the 2013 u.s. open



The American Express Experience at the 2013 U.S. Open

U.S. Open sponsor American Express is behind many of the initiatives that enhance the fan experience at the USTABJKNTC during the two weeks it plays host for the last major of the year. They’ve taken over a section of the Indoor tennis center, providing swing analysis, virtual tennis, an exhibit by the Hall of Fame on “Battle of the Sexes,” an IBM Data Wall, and other great ways to cool down and pass the time while at the Open. Outside of the hospitality area, Amex also offers their radio commentary (Radio Live) and TrendCast, a feature within the U.S. Open app that tracks trending topics in social media.

Read on: The full release is below the gallery (and the cut).

(renderings courtesy of American Express) [Read more...]

tsf interview: madison is all keyed up



Open-bound: This past weekend was a big one for 16-year-old Madison Keys. The up-and-coming US teen went through three rounds of tennis to earn a win at the Wildcard Playoffs event in DC, scoring herself a spot in the main draw of the Open. Keys took out last year’s media darling of the US Open — Beatrice Capra — in the final, 3-6 6-4 6-0. Keys has played in just one other main draw event in 2011, losing to Patty Schnyder in the opening round in Miami in a third-set tiebreaker. The current world no. 456 lost in the opening round of qualies at last year’s Open.

Above, Wilson pits Keys in a great video with professional opera singer Lily Oh. In the vid, the two ladies try to teach one another a few tricks about their vastly different trades. The result? Mostly hilarity.

Below, TSF gets in a few Qs with the NYC-bound teen before her first-ever Open main draw.

TSF: You can use your Wilson racket to do anything other than play tennis. What would it be?
Madison Keys: I would eat every meal off of it.

TSF: Flossing is something ___________.
MK: Flossing is something everyone lies about.

TSF: Say you have the option to play in just one of the four Majors — ever. Which do you choose?
MK: 
US Open

TSF: Katy Perry’s “TGIF” video is _________.
MK:
Katy Perry’s TGIF video is one of my favorites.

TSF: Speaking of “TGIF,” Rebecca Black’s “Friday” got removed from YouTube. This makes you feel what? Because?
MK: It makes me feel sad because of the hateful comments, but also grateful that my sisters stopped playing it.

TSF: How did you celebrate your sweet 16?
MK:
Went out with friends for a movie and ice cream.

TSF: What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?
MK: 
White chocolate raspberry from Whitey’s. [Keys is an Illinois native.]

TSF: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf offer you to play doubles — with one of them. Who do you choose?
MK:
Steffi Graf

(Video courtesy of Wilson)

short balls: the epic edition


Brooklyn gets wind-swept on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure. See more of Brooklyn, and what hubby Andy thinks of LiLo’s jailing in this week’s short balls. (screen grab via BravoTV.com)

Who said the week after Wimbledon was a dead one on the tennis news front? There is plenty of stuff going on, from the on-court happenings at Newport and beyond to plenty (and we mean plenty) of off court news. Here’s TSF‘s edition of short balls for the week.

If you are a Pam Shriver fan and still a little miffed by all the negative press the ESPN analyst got for her run-in with James Blake in the first round of Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago, we thought we would cheer you up by digging out this video clip of one of Pam’s big-time wins on the WTA singles circuit. The victim? Steffi Graf at the 1988 Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden. It was one of only three wins Shriver notched against Graf in 12 career meetings, and it’s a pretty good look at old-school, serve-and-volley tennis from PS herself.

Perhaps you miss Wimbledon mightily and have watched the many replays available on the official web site and on YouTube. Hopefully you’ve also had the chance to check out the “Off Court” section of the Wimby web site, which was sponsored by the bottled water company Evian. A trendy British gal roams the grounds in search of the good, bad and quirky in respects to fan fashion at this year’s tournament. I enjoyed every clip.

Andy Roddick’s wife, Brooklyn Decker (top) was on the Bravo TV show Double Exposure this last week and dang, girl looked good! We were digging the wind-blown hair. See a clip of the video by clicking the image above or here. Just to be clear, Brooklyn is the second girl, not the first who is, well, a little frightening. Recently, celeb Lindsay Lohan was on Double Exposure as well, though her shoot didn’t go as well as Brooklyn’s did. If you didn’t think Brooklyn’s hubby, Andy Roddick, had any opinion on Lohan’s recent court saga (she’s been sentenced for 90 days in jail for violating probation), think again:

Not to be outdone, Andy Murray also made the TV cut this week, appearing on the James Corden show in Britain. Murray chatted tennis and soccer, if a “Hawkeye” system should be used in soccer, and hit some tennis balls at fancy, over-sized cones. Not to be outdone by Brooklyn (or Lindsay!), Andy also slow danced with an adoring fan. Awkward picture after the cut.

[Read more...]