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Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

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Working together in their first season on the WTA Tour, Lindsay Davenport and rising 20-year-old Madison Keys conducted their first on-court coaching session during Keys’ straight-sets takedown of Klara Koukalova on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open.

Sometimes on-court coaching sessions can be cringeworthy episodes in bad rapport, as over-amped coaches try to cram information down the throats of exasperated players who’ve gone off the rails.

All the player needs is a banana and a chance to breathe and the coach can’t stop saying some silly cliché like “just keep playing your game.”

But this interlude between Keys and Davenport is a bit of a revelation. Not only is Keys not ignoring Davenport, she’s actually listening and interacting. And, as far as Davenport’s demeanor, it’s clear that she’s 100 percent invested in Keys as a player and a person.

The advice given to Keys during this session is clear and concise. It’s upbeat and simple. It reinforces what’s been done right and doesn’t dwell on anything negative. It features simple and easy-to-actuate advice that Keys can digest along with the banana.

We think the chemistry on display here bodes very well for Keys going forward in 2015. With Davenport and her husband Rick Leach doing everything in her power to push Keys to the next level, it’s hard not to imagine her making backing up her Australian Open results with more deep runs.