Madison Keys 22-01-18 interview

  • Def. Garcia 6-3 6-2

Q. How good are you feeling about your game through four rounds?
MADISON KEYS: I'm feeling really good. I feel like I'm playing just solid, consistent tennis. I think today was a good example of that. I think I served well. I think I returned well.

But I don't think I played unbelievable. I think I just played really solid and smart.

Q. You hit an enormous number of winners. Are you consciously playing attacking, aggressive tennis?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I think that's how I always play. It's usually more focused about keeping the errors down than trying to hit winners.

Q. It looked pretty unbelievable. Where do you see that you can improve?
MADISON KEYS: I don't even think it's really improvement, but I was just playing really smart. I wasn't going for unbelievable shots and things like that. I just was waiting for the right ball. Then trusting that I was going to make the right decision when I finally had the opportunity to go for it.

Q. Is that kind of smart tennis new for you? A new approach you have been taking?
MADISON KEYS: I don't think so (smiling). I hope not. I mean, I think I played pretty smart to get to the finals of the US Open and win some titles.

Hopefully it's just a little bit more consistently that way.

Q. You mentioned not feeling any pressure out there after your match today. What do you think accounts for that this year compared to last year?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thing for me is I'm just really enjoying myself out on the court, and I obviously missed a lot of tennis last year and wasn't playing well at the beginning of the year.

I realized once I just let things happen and trusted myself and just played my game, good things were happening and good outcomes were happening. So I just keep focusing on that and not putting as much pressure on myself.

Q. Do you think people don't understand, like in any job, sometimes you're enjoying yourself and sometimes it's your job, that there is the ebb and flow?
MADISON KEYS: For sure. I think sometimes that's something that people don't always appreciate. It's obviously an amazing job to have, but there's tough days and there is times when it's not great. There's times when things are going really well, and it's just clicking and it feels a little bit effortless.

Right now I'm definitely really enjoying my job, and I definitely hope that the way that I'm mentally preparing for these matches, and practice weeks help have more great weeks than bad weeks.

Q. If somebody told you that you are the favorite to win this thing, what would you say?
MADISON KEYS: "Cool. That's nice."

Q. You mentioned before watching Caroline win China last year. What were the keys to that?
MADISON KEYS: I think she's really great about taking the ball early and putting pressure on you. Especially just even where she stands for her returns.

So that was something that I had to consciously think about and not let her position throw me off. More than that, it was really just trying to keep the ball deep and keep it away from her so that she couldn't dictate the point.

Q. How long did it take you to get over the mental and emotional and, if this applies, physical hangover from the US Open final?
MADISON KEYS: Pretty much the week to 10 days after was really tough. I mean, my sleep schedule was totally messed up. I was just really tired from all the late, emotional matches that I had.

And then to have such a great two weeks and then have it end the way that it did, it was really devastating for me, so it definitely took some time to get over.

More than that, it was realizing that it was so unexpected, and I was so happy to even get there in the first place after having such a rough beginning of my season, that after telling myself that a couple of times I definitely finally moved on and just wanted to put myself in the same position again so that maybe I could have a different outcome.

Q. How much did Lindsay and Dieter help you know what to do with all that? Did they leave you alone?
MADISON KEYS: They left me alone at first, and then more than anything, they have just been really vocal, saying they want me to talk to them if I'm having certain emotions or however I'm feeling.

I mean, even after the final, Kim came up to me and said, I have been in the exact same position. It sucks. I know. Lindsay said the exact same thing.

Having people who went on to do great things have these same feelings and outcomes that I had really helped.

Q. Are you more of a person who internalizes and has a hard time expressing that with, like, talking to Lindsay or Dieter on that?
MADISON KEYS: It's definitely something I have had to be better at and focus on and consciously make myself talk sometimes, and it's definitely helped me in all aspects of my life to be better at communicating.

Q. Is Lindsay continuing as your full-time coach? I think I read she had a lot on her plate with family.
MADISON KEYS: I hope so. I would hope you're not breaking the news to me. It would be a bad way to find out.

So I'm assuming that we're sticking to the same plan that we had yesterday (smiling) or, like, an hour ago.

Q. With having four kids and that, is she a good distraction for you, the fact that it's not all about you, that she has a lot going on in her life and you kind of embrace that?
MADISON KEYS: I think she's amazing. I mean, even today her son was here and she had Tennis Channel and she was at my warmup and she had to go back to Tennis Channel. She has a lot on her plate and has Legends later. She has a lot going on and I think it's impressive to watch her handle it all and she never seems stressed or tired.

When she is with me she gives 100% of what she has, and, you know, she's definitely someone that I look up to in that aspect.

Q. You have had a long history at this tournament. You came as a junior at 14. This is your first slam semi. What defines your affinity for this event?
MADISON KEYS: The courts are really fast, so that helps. I just, you know, love coming here, and it's an easy trip for me because I love the city and I love playing here. The fans are amazing.

But it's also right after offseason so I always feel like I'm really excited to get on the road again.

Q. What are the types of things to do to kind of get away from the matches or whatever?
MADISON KEYS: I have pretty much been binging Netflix shows. "Grace and Frankie" is back on. That was last night's.

Q. Are you done with the season?
MADISON KEYS: No, I'm like halfway done and I started yesterday. So probably going to finish that tonight (smiling).

Q. I know Lindsay gave you yesterday off, but now I know what you did with it.
MADISON KEYS: Didn't leave my bed all day. Really beneficial.

Q. Don't give us any secrets. What was your feeling on the new season?
MADISON KEYS: I'm excited. So far it seems good. There was like kind of a rocky start, but I'm definitely sucked in now. Like I said, I'll probably finish it tonight.

Q. Your thoughts on your next possible matches. Hsieh is up in this match. Seems to be driving Kerber completely insane. How do you face either of them?
MADISON KEYS: I think they are both going to be tricky opponents. They both make a lot of balls, and I'm going to have to be the aggressive one and take time away, but also be really smart.

So like I was saying earlier, hopefully I continue to play smart, and that's pretty much all I can really do.

Q. You have been playing consistent tennis for a long time now. Is that still like the temptation, even in a match like today, to just go for that, you know, kind of the Hollywood shot and, you know, when I'm sure you know you can make it but maybe it's not the right shot to play?
MADISON KEYS: Every once in a while it pops into my head and I just imagine missing it and being really mad at myself so I try to go with the smarter shot. But I feel like still in these matches every once in a while I don't make the best decision (smiling).

Q. From the 2015 semi and last year at the US Open, I'm curious, just in terms of Grand Slams and your experience at them and your progress through them, has the impact of what you have done and your experience that you have gained at the slams, just the experience of learning how to deal with the process and the experience of being at a slam and managing first weeks or has it impacted your ambition more in terms of like the belief once you get those results, oh, it's not that far away, you know, the title?
MADISON KEYS: It's definitely been a learning experience. Obviously making a first week for the first time, everything is very overwhelming. I feel like being more consistent about making second weeks and having runs has helped me manage the moment. But more than anything, it's just focusing on the match in front of me and not thinking about, oh, I could make the final. It's more I have a quarterfinal and that's what I need to focus on and not look past that.

The more I have been in the situation, the better I have become at doing that and not looking at the draw and doing all of that. So I think the experience has been the biggest thing for me, just being able to manage my emotions and not get too far ahead of myself.

Q. If it is Kerber, you have had a lot of epic matches against her, a couple of Charleston and Eastbourne finals. What do you think has made your matches so close in the beginning? How do you see that match happening in 2018 when you have both had great starts to the year?
MADISON KEYS: I think she's always tough to play. She obviously is a great tennis player. She's been No. 1 in the world and won slams. I think she has an ability to cover the court and anticipate like really no one else does, so for me it's having to play aggressive but also consistently aggressive, because I know she's going to make three more balls than other girls may be able to get to.

So it's not feeling rushed and that I have to go for something crazy big on the first one and just really work the point.