Madison will hit the right keys next year: Davenport
American's coach Davenport believes her protege will come good in 2018
Madison Keys' run to last month's US Open final was one of the surprise stories in the tennis world this year.
The 22-year-old American eventually lost in her first Grand Slam final to her good friend Sloane Stephens.
But Keys' coach Lindsay Davenport, who is in Singapore as an ambassador for the WTA Finals, believes her protege will come good next year.
"I wish Madison played a better final at the US Open, but she didn't," said Davenport yesterday in an interview at Going for Gold presented by Tiffany & Co.: The Journey of Parenting Champions.
"There was so much doubt in her mind with two wrist surgeries and seven months with some changes going on outside the court.
"But good news about tennis is that she'll have four more chances next year."
Davenport began coaching Keys in 2014 on a part-time basis, but stopped for almost two years after giving birth to her fourth child.
This year, the 41-year-old American resumed her partnership with Keys, becoming one of three women coaching a player in the WTA top 20.
The absence of Serena Williams, who is taking a break from tennis to give birth to her first child last month, is said to have spurred young players to improve their game.
However, Davenport feels that women's tennis is missing a consistent dominance.
The No.1 spot has been rotating among top players such as Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep, but none of them have been able to stay at the top for long periods.
Davenport said: "We saw flashes of brilliance from different players, but not consistent brilliance from one player.
"It's been interesting to see no player could step up and really dominate.
"Hopefully, there will be a player who's No.1 in the world that has won five or six titles, two Majors, and really separate themselves from the pack to be the leader of women's tennis."
Davenport, herself a former world No. 1, is not ruling out a comeback from Serena, who has 23 Grand Slam titles to her name.
She added that women's tennis still needs the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena), because they bring to the table a dominance that not a player in this generation can match up to.
Asked about her experience playing against the Williams sisters and how it impacted her tennis career, Davenport joked: "For me? Playing against them stopped me from winning more Grand Slams.
"But they're remarkable, they're such supreme athletes. The challenge Venus and Serena presented was different than anybody else.
"I love it that they're still the ones leading the charge at age 36 and 37, and they show no signs of wanting to walk away from the game any time soon."
As Davenport seeks to nurture talents like Keys, she is aware of an ongoing controversy in the American sporting scene - players taking "the knee" during the national anthem to protest the unfair treatment of minorities by police in the country, provoking the ire of US President Donald Trump.
Keys' father is of African-American descent, while her mother is Caucasian. So the question arises: what if Keys decides to take the knee?
In a previous interview with Judy Murray, the mother of two tennis greats - Andy and Jamie - steered clear of the issue and said: "I would always say to the top players: look at what your sport has given you and how can you give back to your sport for the next generation."
But Davenport believes that players should be at liberty to do as they please.
"My relationship with Madison is incredibly close and we're very, very tight.
"I feel that it's up to each and every person to make that decision, so that's up to Madison and her beliefs. I'll respect her views."