Madison Keys said Serena Williams was the big reason behind her decision to pursue a professional tennis career. Keys, 27, clashed her "forever idol" three times and each time ended on the losing side. With Williams retiring after this year's US Open, Keys admits she is sad because of the fact that she will never again be able to clash the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
“I grew up watching Serena, I idolised her forever and being able to play against her multiple times on the tour, those are still some of the most memorable matches that I’ve ever played and they will also be some of the most special moments that I’ve had on a tennis court," Keys told PA news agency.
“I’m going to be very sad to no longer see her playing tennis but I think she’s going to continue to do amazing things. She doesn’t want to use the word retirement and I’m not going to use the word retirement, I think it’s just truly evolving into the next part of her life and I think, as with everything she does, it’s going to be phenomenal and incredibly successful”.
Keys: Williams is leaving a lasting legacy
“You don’t even have to say her last name, everyone knows Serena,” added Keys. “If you ask 15 girls why they started playing tennis, maybe all of them say it’s because of her.
She’s obviously going to leave a lasting legacy that people will talk about forever”. Keys and Williams clashed for the first time in the 2015 Australian Open semifinal. In their first meeting, Williams claimed a straight-set win.
Keys and Williams clashed again a few months later at the US Open, with Williams winning again in two sets. The following year, Williams and Keys clashed for the third and final time. In the 2016 Rome final, Williams defeated Keys in two sets.