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An Interview With: Madison Keys

Monday, August 31, 2015

Q. How pleased were you with that performance?

MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I'm pretty happy about it. I think really good first set, really good start. Then my level dropped a little bit, hers went up in the second set, and I really just kind of dug deep and figured out a way to get back in the match. Was happy I was able to win in straights.

Q. One of the land mines of being on late on the first day of a major is you might see what's happening around you in terms of the draw. Is it easy to block that out? How aware were you about the other matches today?

MADISON KEYS: I think you're always aware of it, but you are so focused on your own match you process the information, but you're not really thinking super deep about it.

Q. How different do you feel coming into this Open compared to years past? Different tournament or same old, same old?

MADISON KEYS: No, it's always exciting coming into the US Open. I think years past it was a lot of pressure and it was one of those things I wasn't quite ready for. This year I'm kind of coming in with a new mentality on it, really embracing it, and having fun. Go out, do my best, and whatever happens, happens.

Q. How do you apply that having fun aspect? You can try to do it, but once you get out on court, probably hard to carry through.

MADISON KEYS: Yeah, no, I think it's just, you know, especially here it's kind of soaking up the crowd. They're always with you and they're always behind you. I mean, I think they definitely helped me out today throughout the second set. I think those are kind of the moments you look for, when you're down and out maybe, but you're able to find your way back in. It may not be fun when it's happening, but the experience is fun.

Q. Does the draw have any effect on how you approach your matches in terms of seeing a topheavy American quarter?

MADISON KEYS: No. I mean, draws happen. Your name falls in somewhere. I really just focus on one match at a time and don't really look forward.

Q. You're having the best year of your young career. How does that change your expectations coming into the tournament? How does it change your confidence coming in?

MADISON KEYS: I think I'm playing with a little bit more confidence. I'm trusting my shots and trusting my game a little bit more every match. I think I'm more just, you know, super excited to be playing. I mean, it feels like the first time I've come into the US Open being really, really excited about it and not having any of the, It's the US Open, I have to play my best tennis.

Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from Lindsay?

MADISON KEYS: I mean, what she always tells me is you have to enjoy the journey on the way up, because once you get to the top... She was always saying it was super stressful because the only place you can go is down. So just enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, be process based, not results based.

Q. How are your Saints going to do this season?

MADISON KEYS: I don't know. It's really stressing me out. We got killed by the Texans the other night. That was not fun. I'm a little nervous. But luckily the division that we're in is not that great. So I still have faith that even if we're not good, we'll still be the best of the bad.

Q. How much does that fandom, being a football fan, the NFL, how much does that let you connect with other players? You get to connect with the guys over that, too.

MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it's funny. John Isner is a Carolina Panther fan. We'll always joke because he's like, Yes, they're great, the Panthers won the division. I'm like, They didn't win half their games. You can't really say they're best in the division because our division was so bad last year. So I kind of take some shots at him. One of their big players got hurt the other day, so he was pretty devastated about that. I was pretty pumped about that. Yeah, we've talked about it a little bit.

Q. Do you play Fantasy Football?

MADISON KEYS: I don't. I feel like I'm stressed out enough watching one game a week. If I had multiple players from teams, if I had to be emotionally invested in all of the games, I don't think I'd be able to handle it.

Q. Is it harder at this tournament to find moments of quiet? Staying in Manhattan, coming to this loud tournament site.

MADISON KEYS: It's kind of funny because you think on off days you try to spend as little time here as you can because it's so busy and so crazy. I mean, not being here is being in Manhattan, which is not the quietest place in the world. No, I think there's been lots of times where maybe two or three friends hanging out in one room and watching a movie and just chilling out like that, there's been a couple nights of that, so it's been good.

Q. Is that a difference between the other slams in the sense you'll try to stay more time here on-site to stay away from Manhattan?

MADISON KEYS: I think I try to spend as little time here as possible. It's further away. It's a drive to get in and out of the city. I try to come, do what I'm here to do, then get back to the city and just kind of relax.

Q. You haven't discovered other parts of Flushing?

 MADISON KEYS: No. I'm actually kind of boring. I actually haven't even really gone like to Manhattan really. I kind of just do all the touristy things and just go shopping. So this year I'm trying to be more open and try different restaurants and things like that.

Q. Embracing this tournament this year, how do you flick that switch? Is that just a decision or is there some sort of process that gets you there?

MADISON KEYS: I think it's a decision. It's not an easy decision. I think there's definitely moments where it's easy to fall into, you know, a negative mindset or getting overwhelmed and things like that. But I think the decision just to say, This is, you know, home slam. It happens once a year. It's a big tournament. I think that decision, at the end of the day, is pretty easy to make.

Q. Choosing to love it as opposed to choosing to be scared of it?