USTA Missouri Valley
Keys Gets Fearless
USTA Missouri Valley | October 24, 2017
Madison Keys has been on some of the game’s biggest stages in her young career. She’s played at Rod Laver Stadium, played in primetime at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and also participated in the 2016 Olympics. But for all the triumph she’s experienced in her career, she deals with a dark side as well — cyberbullying.
Frequently, Keys comes off the court only to be attacked by anonymous voices behind screen names on Twitter and Instagram. Often times, her attackers have lost bets on her match and aren’t happy.
But Keys, who has two high-school aged sisters, knows cyberbullying isn’t limited to professional athletes. Cyberbullying, and bullying of any kind for that matter is a daily occurrence for far too many around the world. And she’s had enough. USTA Missouri Valley spoke with Keys while she was home in Rock Island, Ill. ADVERTISEMENT recently.
Keys has joined FearlesslyGiRL as its ambassador. FearlesslyGiRL is an anti-bullying organization dedicated to a “Kinder Girl World” in schools and communities across North America.
“It’s about building the awareness,” Keys said. “I want people to think ‘would you say this to your daughter?’ I want to show people it’s [cyberbullying] really happening.”
On November 17, Keys will join FearlesslyGiRL founder Kate Whitfield for what they’re calling the largest anti-bullying school assembly ever. As the organization makes its official US launch, Keys, along with other athletes and celebrities will discuss how bullying has impacted them, overcoming their fears.
The assembly will originate from Keys’ hometown of Rock Island, Ill., and will be simulcast free to any elementary, middle or high school that chooses to livestream the assembly at www.fearlesslygirl.com/assembly.
The assembly is part of a three-day series of events throughout the quad cities. Keys will join tennis commentator Renee Stubs as well as ATP professional Bjorn Fratangelo and Sloane Stephens’ coach, Kamau Murray on November 16 for a pro-am at the Quad Cities Tennis Club. Friday, November 17 will be the FearlesslyGiRL assembly, followed by a Gala held at Rhythm City Casino which will include a live auction as well as dinner and cocktails.
On Saturday, November 18, Keys and Fratangelo will host a kids clinic at Quad Cities Tennis Club while parents can listen to a panel of speakers including Keys’ mother, Christine, her agent Max Eisenbud and a representative from the United States Tennis Association.
The panel will be discussing USTA junior competition, parenting a tennis player, and professional opportunities. The cost of the workshop and/or clinic is $25.
Keys recently spent time with the USTA Missouri Valley during a brief stopover in the Quad Cities as she prepares for the events.
For her, partnering with FearlesslyGiRL felt a natural fit.
Keys also knows what it means to be a tough competitor, while also maintaining friendships. She said just because a girl is your opponent, doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to her. Keys points to her close friendships with fellow Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens as a model for other players that it’s okay to be close friends with opponents, who can also provide support on the tour.
But right now, Keys is focused on seeing changes in her hometown and seeing progress toward ending bullying. “This is where I started,” she said. “It’s a great place to grow anything and we’ll slowly move FearlesslyGiRL from this event.”
Visit www.fearlesslygirl.com for more information on the organization and its upcoming events.