While acknowledging that Serena Williams is the favorite to win Wimbledon this year, Chris Evert believes that Madison Keys has good short-term and long-term potential at the grass-court Grand Slam.
“If there’s any American player that can follow in Serena and Venus’ footsteps at Wimbledon, it would favor Madison Keys with her power game,” said Evert, the 18-time Grand Slam champion who is a commentator at ESPN. “Sloane Stephens is playing better [having reached the Wimbledon quarters in 2013]. [Christina] McHale seems to be playing better. The American girls are really doing well. We have a lot in the Top 50. But Madison Keys would be my bet to follow in the footsteps of the Williams sisters on the grass courts.”
Serena Williams, who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, and Venus Williams, who has won seven, are in the latter stages of their careers. Serena is 33 years old and Venus is 35 years old; both have won Wimbledon five times. The 20-year-old Keys reached the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open, where she lost to Serena, and is currently ranked No. 21.
Last year, Keys won a grass-court tournament in Eastbourne, but had to retire in the third round of Wimbledon due to a leg injury. Keys is playing Eastbourne this week.
John McEnroe, a three-time Wimbledon champion and fellow ESPN commentator, concurs with Evert. “I would agree that Madison is going to make the most inroads, and I think it's going to be real soon.” McEnroe said. “She’s got a huge serve. If she can figure out the movement on the court, she's going to have a shot at going deep at an event like Wimbledon.”
McEnroe also mentioned that Serena is a heavy favorite at Wimbledon outside of Petra Kvitova, who won the title last year, and Alize Cornet, who defeated Williams in the third round last year.