US OPEN

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Madison Keys

Press Conference

M. KEYS/C. SUAREZ NAVARRO

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Semifinals again here at a Grand Slam. What do you think has led to your consistency?

MADISON KEYS: I think that I am doing whatever I can to put myself in the position to go deeper into slams. I think I'm feeling more comfortable in those big moments and like matches like tonight.

So I think just, you know, training hard the week before and trying to not put too much pressure on myself has really helped me do that.

Q. Along those lines, in what ways, either via coaching or something you learned about yourself or these moments, has allowed you to be more comfortable to bring out your best on these bigger stages?

MADISON KEYS: I think it's just doing it. You know, I have had some big moments that before I was losing and was probably putting too much pressure on myself and all of that, so just learning from those experiences, you know, just having a better mentality about the whole situation and remembering what my game plan is and just focusing on that instead of the actual occasion.

Q. Four Americans in the semifinals last year. You're only one of those four to make it back this time. How do you think you became this bankable at this point in your career? What do you know about what's coming up next that you might not have had before?

MADISON KEYS: I think I've gotten a lot better managing my emotions once it gets to this part and knowing that everything is going to be probably more amped up, and not shying away from those but just really being honest about it and talking about it.

Just, you know, embracing the moment. Just trying to remind myself to actually have fun and enjoy the experience.

Q. Did you have fun tonight?

MADISON KEYS: I did have fun tonight, yeah. It helps when you have fun.

Q. What have been the biggest differences for you on this journey versus last year's US Open journey?

MADISON KEYS: A lot earlier finishes (smiling). That always helps. But I feel like last year a lot of my matches were kind of emotional roller coasters, and this year I feel like I have been much more solid mentally, and in tougher times keeping my cool a little bit better and not having to have the big emotional swing to kind of try to get back into matches.

Q. What feeling has that given you maybe at this moment that's different than last year?

MADISON KEYS: I'm a lot less emotionally drained this year. You know, I'm waking up at normal times every morning, so that helps, too.

Q. Carla plays such a tricky game and can be stressful in those situations. You got into some long rallies. How important was patience tonight against her?

MADISON KEYS: It's definitely important. She does a really good job, especially tonight, of holding the baseline and redirecting the ball. So I knew that I was going to have to play really well but also know that she's going to come up with some great shots and defend really well.

So it was more just about staying calm and knowing that she was going to play well and just waiting for my opportunities.

Q. I have two questions. Last year Sloane had to console you a little bit on court after that final. Did you console her in any way yesterday, or did you reach out to her?

MADISON KEYS: I sent her a text, but, I mean, I wasn't really here so I couldn't do much. But, yeah, she had a really tough match yesterday.

Q. Second question is we have sort of been wondering all week, your T-shirt, and I know you have practiced in it, is something taped over? Did you do that or is that...

MADISON KEYS: No, it's just the shirt. It's a Nike thing.

Q. We thought maybe you had taped over something.

MADISON KEYS: No, just the shirt.

Q. Your next matchup against Osaka, of course you have beaten her in Paris, but maybe this is of course your favorite surface but also her favorite surface, so how do you see that matchup? And the second question is maybe a year ago, year and a half ago, you said you don't know much about Naomi because she's quite shy. So at this point, do you know her personality more than before?

MADISON KEYS: I think she has obviously had a really great year, and, I mean, we played on clay, which was a completely different match for both of us.

We have had a couple of close matches on hard court before, so I know it's going to be a tough match. She's obviously playing really well to make the semifinals. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

And I know a little bit more about her. I feel like she always has some pretty funny interviews, so I always look forward to seeing what she's saying in her interviews (smiling).

Q. Speaking of that, in 2016, your match here, third round, what are your memories of that match, and two years on, is that a match that for you in your career is significant? Like, it seemed like it was a big slam match for you in those circumstances, learning how to use the crowd, playing on Ashe and all that. Looking back on it, is it as significant as it felt at the moment?

MADISON KEYS: That was definitely a match that was -- I think we both had some very highs and lows during that match where one was playing well, one wasn't. One was down, one was emotionally high.

That I think was probably the first time I had been on Ashe and had to learn how to use the crowd. So it was definitely something that I have learned from, and I have used -- I know now to, you know, as a home favorite, to let myself let the crowd in and let them help me in all of that.

In that aspect, it was a learning experience. As far as was it a massive match for me, I think there has been a lot of matches now for me at this slam, but that's definitely still always going to be something that I remember.

Q. Do you think the fact that she lost the 1-5 lead is something that might be on her mind, is something that could help you, returning to the scene of a meltdown?

MADISON KEYS: Honestly, I think she's probably forgotten about it. I think it will be a completely different match. And she's grown a lot since then, as have I, so I think it's going to be a tough match and I don't think that's going to be on her mind.

Q. Going back to Osaka, what do you imagine is the biggest difference in the way that you two play the game?

MADISON KEYS: I think we play similarly. I think power, obviously a big serve. I think I probably have a little bit more spin on the ball, but I think she takes time away really well, and, you know, I don't think we will have tons of long rallies.

Q. Three of the four women in the semifinals here are based in Florida, not unheard of in tennis, but you, Serena, Naomi, all down there with the conditions, the humidity, is that something that will be a help for you? Generally, how do you think it's been playing overall?

MADISON KEYS: I think being in Florida definitely helps. I think this whole -- even in Cincinnati, it was hot and humid, and I think where I was training before that, it was miserable, so it actually didn't feel quite as bad.

So I think that is definitely a bonus. I think the court's playing slower, but I also think just because it's been so humid, the balls are getting a lot fluffier and playing even slower.

Q. The USTA said it intentionally slowed down the courts this year to help American players. Does that compute to you?

MADISON KEYS: I feel like you can answer that question (smiling).

Q. Back to what you were saying about letting the crowd in, getting help from the home fans, is that something that anybody, a coach or somebody said to you or another player said, Hey, this can help, or picked up by seeing other Americans get that in the past maybe, or was it really just sort of in that moment of a match where you were, like, Hey, this is helpful?

MADISON KEYS: I think it was very specifically here, that match where I came back and won, but it is something that I have been told by -- I think Lindsay is probably the one who mostly told me about it. But it's been kind of a combination of learning from it and having them help me and get through that, and also being reminded of, you know, let them in early and let them help you from the very beginning.

Q. As you're talking about all these learning experiences and getting used to playing in big moments, do you ever have to remind yourself that you're just 23 and like maybe emotions in the second week of the slam is totally normal and that's fine, or is it, like, no, I should be used to this by now?

MADISON KEYS: I think that I will always expect myself to just be good at it, and I want that and all of that, but at the same time I have to kind of remind myself that I'm not perfect and I'm still trying to figure that all out.

You know, I think tennis is maturing and for that reason. It's become such a physical sport, that the big difference is mentally and emotionally.

Q. What specifically does the crowd do to make you win?

MADISON KEYS: I mean, I don't think they can actually make me win as much as I wish they could, but I think the biggest thing is just in moments when you're down and, you know, you go up to serve and the whole crowd starts cheering for you. It just gives you a little bit of an energy boost where they are very good at knowing when you need it, and then when you are kind of riding a high, they definitely help you stay there.

Q. So you'd share some of your winnings?

MADISON KEYS: I don't know about that (smiling).

Q. You texted someone immediately once you got to your chair. Can you disclose who you texted?

MADISON KEYS: My boyfriend (smiling).

Q. What are the things that come to mind first when you think of Rafael Nadal's career and his game?

MADISON KEYS: I think he is an amazing tennis player. He fights so hard, and I wish I could have stayed awake to watch more of that match last night, but I tapped out.

I think just his energy on court is amazing to me. I don't run that way, so to see someone who can stay at such a high energy level for so long is really intriguing to me.

Q. At what point did you tap out in that match? When did you fall asleep?

MADISON KEYS: In the middle of the third.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #180 at 2018-09-06 02:01:00 GMT