INTERVIEW:  Madison Keys DEF. Ulrikke Eikeri 6-3 6-1 – 2nd ROUND
Round of 32: M. Keys def. U. Eikeri – 6-3 6-1
THE MODERATOR: We’re going to get started. Maddy, why don’t you start us off. You were supposed to play last night, had to play this morning. What was your mind set heading into today?
MADISON KEYS: Honestly, I was just happy I was first on and was able to get my match finished.
Started a little bit nervous, but I think I played into the match pretty well and felt pretty comfortable out there.
Just happy I had a kind of straightforward win today.
Question: Obviously had a postponement today, too. What was the mindset? Actually kind of came out on fire. What was the refocus after you came out following that delay?
MADISON KEYS: Actually, it was raining through the first set, so I wasn’t surprised. Just knew I had to have a good start and didn’t want things to kind of get off of track after having that sort of delay, so I was just super focused in the first couple of games and felt like my level raised.
Question: You talk about the crowd after the match, but what does this crowd support mean to you in Charleston?
MADISON KEYS: It is the absolute best to play here in Charleston. I have played here several times, have done well, have obviously won the tournament, and have always had incredible crowd support. I love coming here, and I love that there’s always fans in the stands.
I just love playing here, and I’m so happy to be back.
Question: I see the jersey. With you being from Rock Island, do you know the Beadl family?
MADISON KEYS: No.
Question: There’s a player from South Carolina women’s basketball from Rock Island. Didn’t know if you knew her or not.
MADISON KEYS: No. Go Rocky.
Question: Madison, what do you like to do during weather delays to pass the time?
MADISON KEYS: Honestly, today I don’t think I really did anything. Talking to my team about random facts that we knew about. That was kind of it, and then all of a sudden it was time to warm up again.
Question: Tell us how the first match out on the new court felt.
MADISON KEYS: It felt great. It’s such a beautiful stadium. I obviously have so many great memories here, so just have kind of transferred that over to the new stadium.
I mean, it’s a beautiful stadium. It sounds incredible, which I paid attention to today. So, yeah, it was just I mean, it was great to be out there.
Quesetion: Maddy, is there any different kind of pressure when you’ve been a champion in a tournament and you come back to play it?
MADISON KEYS: I don’t think I’m feeling any sort of pressure from being a past champion. If anything, it’s just knowing that the year that I did win the title here I didn’t play incredible tennis all the time. I had to figure out how to win some matches and didn’t play my best.
But just really kind of relied on crowd support and just trying to figure things out to win, and just kind of remembering that in any sort of tough moments is actually helpful.
Question: So it’s actually helpful?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah.
Question: We saw Lindsay in the crowd. I know that you guys have spent time together. Is she just here kind of hanging out? And then she’s been a mentor to you for a long time. Are there players or people in your life that you try to pay that forward to and mentor them?
MADISON KEYS: Lindsay is obviously here for Tennis Channel, so it just happened to work out that she didn’t have to call any matches. We’re still incredibly close, and she’s someone that I go to for advice all the time, and if she can watch a match, she likes to come by.
Yeah, she’s an incredibly special person to me and really important in my life.
So it’s always nice, now that she’s traveling again for Tennis Channel to have her tournaments.
I don’t know if I’m a mentor for anyone, but if anyone’s looking, they can call me (laughter).
Question: Madison, I think it’s fair to say you’ve become a sort of unofficial ambassador for this tournament. You visited a school here in town a couple years ago. How has that developed over the years, do you think?
MADISON KEYS: Honestly, I think it’s probably just because I tell Bob and Eleanor that I’ll be back before I’ve even gone. I just, I truly love this tournament, and the people are fantastic. Having people who care so deeply about the players, I am more than happy to do whatever I can to help the tournament and help the city that it’s in.
So anything that they ask of me, I’m there for them.
Question: Can you give us an update on your kindness initiative and how that’s been going over the last couple of years since we last saw you?
MADISON KEYS: It’s been slow, as most things have during COVID. Starting to gain some traction, and now being able to do things in person again is really helpful. I’ve slowly been able to have a little bit more of an online presence, and obviously I’ve given out some medals of kindness and things like that.
So slowly but surely we’re working on it.
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