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An Interview With: Madison Keys (Round 3)

Friday, September 04, 2015

Q. How were you able to turn things around against an opponent you've had so much trouble against?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I think I came out and was pretty dominant and dictating from the start. I think I was playing pretty well. You know, I was serving well and just had a really good game plan and strategy and was executing.

So, you know, I just kind of stayed in the moment and kept going with that.

Q. Against Serena, what are the memories of the Australian Open match, and what else will be on your mind as you prepare to face her?
MADISON KEYS: I haven't really thought about it yet. Obviously it will be a tough match for me. I'm just really excited to go out, try to win, and have some fun. But I haven't really gotten that far yet.

Q. What do you remember most about the match in Australia, though?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, it was a great match. It was a really close first set. I think the thing that I remember the most is, yeah, saving a lot of match points.

Q. You're a little bit more under the radar than other years in New York?
MADISON KEYS: I have, and I've really liked it.

Q. Why do you think that is?
MADISON KEYS: I think there's a lot of hype behind Serena going for a calendar-year Grand Slam. There's been some big upsets; there's been some big wins.

I think I've kind of just gone out and won matches and got off the court.

Q. It will be very much on the radar against Serena, though.
MADISON KEYS: Yeah.

Q. Talk about being thrown into that whole story.
MADISON KEYS: I think it's exciting, you know. Obviously since the draw came out that's kind of been the big talk, that it could happen.

For me to be able to put myself in that position is really big for me, so really just looking forward to it.

Q. How much does it help to have one match win on Arthur Ashe already?
MADISON KEYS: It was really good that I was able to get out there before getting thrown out there with Serena who has had so many matches out there.

So being a little bit more comfortable with it is big for me.

Q. What constitutes being comfortable out there? How different is it from playing in any other arena here?
MADISON KEYS: I think on any big court, you know, once you get out there and you play some points and you get a feel for it, you know, you just feel a little bit more comfortable in it.

I think just being able to practice out there, just even that one time before my match, had me a little bit more comfortable. I mean, it's a big stadium. You know, you kind of just had to get used to the feel, how far back, you know, the stands start and everything.

So it's just a little bit different every time you're out on a different court.

Q. Probably won't be a lot of times when you go on Ashe as an American and maybe not have the crowd totally on your side. What's that going to be like?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, obviously I get it. I'm not going to take it personal. I'm just going to focus on myself and play my best and do whatever I can to try to win.

Q. Given your history against Aga, does this mean more than just a third-round slam win? Does it matter to you?
MADISON KEYS: For sure. I think it's a big win for me. Being 0-4 is really never what you want to be going into a match. Getting that first win is really big for me against her.

But it's also first time in the fourth round at the US Open. It's just icing on the cake.

Q. What did you feel was different about tonight that allowed you to get the win?
MADISON KEYS: I think I just played a little bit calmer. I mean, I know how I play, I'm going to have unforced errors. I'm probably going to have a lot of them.

Especially against her, someone who gets so many balls back, I mean, her strength is, you know, not making a lot of errors.

So for me I knew going in I was going to make the unforced errors. But knowing that if I kept going and try to dictate the point, I'd probably come out doing pretty well.

Q. Talk about making the errors but just going for it.
MADISON KEYS: I think it depends a little bit on the player I'm playing. Obviously some people you have to go for more. Other people you may try to make a shot or two more.

But, you know, for me, I definitely have the aggressive game. I'm definitely going to make some unforced errors.

Q. How do you beat Serena?
MADISON KEYS: I don't know. I don't think many people do know, so...

I guess I'm going to go try to figure it out, and I'll let you know if I figure it out in a couple days. (Laughter.)

Q. If you win, you would be remembered as the villain in her fairytale. What do you think of that potential role?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I'd be okay with it. What am I going to say? I want her to beat me? (Laughter.)

Q. Do you think it's cool to be the spoiler, or...
MADISON KEYS: I mean, yeah. I want to go out and I want to win. I mean, obviously it's a big story. She's won four in a row and she's going for the calendar year. That's great, but at the same time I want to win.

So I'd be okay with beating her, yeah. (Laughter.)

Q. What do you consider her greatest qualities on the court?
MADISON KEYS: I think just her determination is unlike anyone else's. You could be watching a match and she'd be down 6-0, 5-0, 40-Love, and you still don't think she's going to lose. You think she's going to come back and win.

I don't think anyone else is quite like that.

Q. Why do you think it is that you don't think she'll lose even when she's on the verge of losing?
MADISON KEYS: I think just because she's proved so many times that she can come back from whatever position she's in.

Q. What does that do when you're standing across the net?
MADISON KEYS: Unfortunately I've never been in the position of being up against her, so I don't quite know. I think it's just one of those things where you have to be so focused on every point because you can't let up. You know she could come back at any moment, so you just have to keep going for your shots and not let yourself drift off.

Q. In terms of style of game, what do you consider the biggest similarities between your games and Serena's?
MADISON KEYS: I think we both have our serve as our weapon, and definitely our forehand. I think we both play pretty aggressive. She obviously has the advantage of winning lots of Grand Slams and tournaments and matches and all of that.

You know, I think her fight is something that I kind of want to emulate and try to get as good as.

But I think there's a lot of similarities. I think she just does a lot of things really, really well.

Q. There's been a lot written about Serena. Have you been keeping up with any of it or have you been trying to stay away from the news?
MADISON KEYS: I don't really read any of the news or anything like that when I'm in tournaments. I try to stay off Twitter and don't read any articles. I haven't really read anything.

Q. With regards to your serve, since it's such a weapon for you, when you're working on it is it the ball toss? Is that something you work on in terms of trying to disguise where you're going?
MADISON KEYS: For sure. I think having a ball toss that is unreadable is a huge weapon. I think that's why Serena's so good at what she does and why she can hit so many aces.

No matter what, you never quite know where she's going to go, and that's definitely something that you try to work on.

Q. You mentioned from the moment the draw came out there's been a lot of hype about the possibility of you two meeting. Have you talked to Lindsay about it at all? Has she prepped you or is she trying to keep you away from it until now?
MADISON KEYS: We were really just going match by match. You know, for me, never having reached the third round, it was really just one match at a time and not really looking forward.

Q. Does the fact that Lindsay played Serena during her career lend anything extra, or the fact that you've played Serena yourself means you don't maybe need that extra guidance?
MADISON KEYS: I think I'm going to take everything that I can. So, you know, anything that Lindsay has said from past experience could maybe be beneficial.

But, I mean, I think Serena's game has evolved so much. I mean, she's one of the greatest tennis players ever. I mean, you can sit there and you can watch her and you can watch every single match she's ever played.

I don't think you can be like, Okay, that's a big weakness. I'm going to play it there. I think if that was possible, she wouldn't be going for her calendar-year slam.

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