Meet One Of The First People To Coach U.S. Open Finalist Madison Keys

Sep 8, 2017

Rock Island-native Madison Keys will compete against Sloane Stephens in the U.S. Open women's final tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 8.

As 22-year-old Madison Keys gears up to compete in tomorrow's U.S. Open final, one fan in Rock Island is remembering her as the 7-year-old star she was when she lived here. 

WVIK's Mariah Woelfel reports. 

It's been 15 years since Tim Baldridge coached the young Madison Keys, but he says her signature style -- marked by a powerful ground stroke and dominant serve -- started on the courts of the Quad City Tennis Club. 

"People would watch at the window and they would just get a kick out of it because she was already hitting the ball so hard that it was amazing."

Madison Keys (right) talks with girls during a FearlesslyGiRL summit at Rock Island High School in November 2016.
Credit Lacy Scarmana / WVIK News

Soon after, Keys moved to Boca Raton, Florida to train under the guidance of famed tennis player and coach Chris Evert.

But Baldridge has followed her career ever since -- from her victory over Serena Williams at age 14, to all three of her Women's Tennis Association tournament wins. 

He says there are things he'll never forget about her time here.

"She loved the Bernie Mac show. So I would watch about 5 minutes of that just so I could get her to serve for a long time. I mean she loved tennis anyway, but she'd serve forever."

It's not clear whether Bernie Mac re-runs are part of Keys' current training routine. She'll face the unseeded Sloane Stephens tomorrow at 3 p.m.