This tennis baby dreamed big in Rock Island, that dream is everyday life now

Enjoying the best season of her career, Madison Keys is now at her career-high ranking of No.7, ready to make her WTA Finals debut in Singapore, so this is the perfect occasion for me to celebrate the 21-year-old's beginnings in Women's Tennis Blog's cutest section, Little Tennis Stars.

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Madison' dream of playing on the big stage began in her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois, when her parents introduced her to tennis. Fun fact is that Madison was actually attracted to the sport because of Venus Williams' on-court fashion! Madison was just a toddler when she saw Venus' tennis dress on TV while watching Wimbledon. Fast forward, Madison is sponsored by sports clothing giant Nike and boasts two victories over legendary Venus (the 2015 Australian Open quarterfinals and the third round of the Rogers Cup in July this year).

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Pictured above is adorable Madison as a little girl with her mother Christine, who is an attorney. It's the tennis star's favorite photo.

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At the age of 9, Madison joined the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Florida.

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Beating world No.81 Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round of Ponte Vedra Beach in 2009, Madison won her first WTA main-draw match and at the age of 14 became the seventh-youngest player ever to win a WTA match.

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Madison's first WTA title came in 2014, at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, while the following year was marked by the Top 20 debut and first Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open.

The 2016 season has been the most remarkable so far:

  • Top 10 debut;
  • first appearance at the Olympic Games (where she narrowly missed out on the bronze medal);
  • the Aegon Classic title in Birmingham, second WTA title on the English grasscourts;
  • consistent deep runs at Grand Slams (one of just four players to reach the round of 16 at all of the majors this year);
  • debut at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

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If you love throwback pics, visit the Little Tennis Stars page for loads of cuteness.

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