Madison Keys is the first American outside of Serena and Venus Williams to earn a berth at the year-end WTA Finals in more than a decade. The last American outside of a Williams at the finals was Lindsay Davenport, a former coach to Keys, in 2005.
At 21-year-old Keys, Keys becomes the youngest player to qualify for the WTA Finals. Her debut in the WTA Finals, starting on Sunday, came courtesy of her winning a second career title in Birmingham, England, and reaching finals at Rome and Montreal.
She also played in the Olympic semifinals, losing to Petra Kvitova for the bronze medal.
”Being here is a huge accomplishment for me,” Keys said. ”I definitely want to … prove that I’ve worked really hard to get here, and I’m here for a reason.”
Keys, who climbed into the top-10 rankings at No. 7 this month, is also the first American to debut in the top 10 since Serena Williams in 1999.
”That (fact) was definitely really surprising,” Keys said. ”There have been a lot of great American players who I thought had made it, but obviously not.”
Keys will face Simona Halep in her first of three round-robin matches on Sunday. They are in the Red Group along with world No. 1 Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova.