By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Promising American teenager Madison Keys left the French Open courts in tears following defeat but is ready for a shot at making a name for herself on grass.
The 18-year-old, on her maiden outing in the main draw at Roland Garros, complained after her 6-4 7-6(2) reversal to Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig: “It was raining and dark, but I have to deal with it. On days like this the balls are heavy and everything is even slower.
“But this one defeat hurts more than the others. I just feel like I didn’t play my best. If I played my best then it probably wouldn’t have hurt as bad.”
Puig, a 19-year-old making her French Open debut on the WTA Tour, knew Keys’ game from their encounters on the Juniors circuit and was rewarded for her patient play with a 3rd Round contest against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
But big-serving Keys is desperate to speed her career plans and make the world’s top 50 within the next 18 months. This aim starts with four back-to-back grass court tournaments in England.
She will kick-off at the second tier event in Nottingham followed by trying to make the main draw at the AEGON Classic in Birmingham and the AEGON International in Eastbourne before a shot at making a name for herself at Wimbledon.
Keys admitted: “Grass is faster than clay, so I’m happy. Clay is still not my favorite surface, it totally plays against me and my game.”