Keys, one of the bright young talents of American tennis hoping to take the mantle from the Williams sisters, struggled with nerves during her centre court debut at Melbourne Park and lost 6-2 7-5 to German fifth seed Angelique Kerber.
The 17-year-old vowed to use the match as a learning experience as she prepares for her first full year on the WTA tour.
"I'm taking away some positives. But right now, it kind of sucks," Keys, who is yet to start her senior year of high school, said with a gummy smile.
"I think it was the occasion, centre court the first time, I think I was just kind of... I think I almost psyched myself out, thinking I had to play better than what I did have to play.
"I think I just got really nervous, going for too much, and pressing instead of just working points."
Keys said she was proud to be part of the renaissance of the US women at Melbourne Park, where five American women advanced to the third round, spearheaded by favourite Serena Williams.
"I think this is probably the best America's done in a grand slam in a long time, and I'm very happy to be one of the Americans that made it this far.
"I think that if we keep working hard we can have better results."
Keys showed a frugal side, saying she might not stick around to watch compatriots Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens depending on plane ticket prices, but would permit herself the purchase of a new pair of headphones.
"My headphones right now for my iPod are really broken," she said. "I have to wiggle the wires around to try to get sound, so I think maybe I can afford new headphones. Other than that I'll probably just stick (the prize money) in savings."
- Sports & Recreation