‘Disappointed’ Madison Keys Sees Silver Lining To US Open defeat
Madison Keys believes she has learned a valuable lesson in this year’s US Open following her straight sets defeat to Sloane Stephens in the final.
The nerve-stricken American could only win three games during her maiden grand slam final as she produced a total of 30 unforced errors compared to Stephens’ six. It was a somewhat anticlimactic outcome for the world No.16, who headed into the match as the bookmakers favourite.
“I didn’t play my best tennis today. I’m really disappointed.” Said Keys. “But if you told me as I was getting on a plane to go have my second surgery that I could have a Grand Slam finalist trophy in my hands at the end of the year, I think I’d be really happy.”
Throughout the season Keys has struggled with a wrist injury. After missing the Australian Open, she underwent a second operation on her wrist following the French Open. Meaning Wimbledon was the only grass-court tournament she played this season. It wasn’t until last month when she won her first WTA title of 2017 at the Stanford Open. It has been a rollercoaster journey for the 22-year-old, who credits her US Open campaign to a new found belief in her game.
“I think I mostly learned that I’m a fighter. No matter what, I can figure things out. In a couple of days, I will be really happy, but right now still a little bit disappointed.”
During the match she was seen wearing strapping on her right thigh. Admitting that she ‘wasn’t moving perfectly,’ a noble Keys refuses to take anything away from Stephens’ emphatic victory. Although she believes her downfall was more to do with her mental state than physical.
“I definitely think my play came down to nerves and all of that, and I just don’t think I handled the occasion perfectly.” She said.
Admiration for friend Stephens
Throughout Saturday’s final clash, the friendship between both players were on full display. At the end of the match both had a heartfelt talk at the net before laughing and joking with each other before the start of the trophy ceremony.
“To be able to share my first Slam experience with a really close friend when it’s also her first Slam is a really special moment. Again, if there was — there’s no one else in the world that would have meant as much as it did.”
Whilst the outcome was what she didn’t want, Keys still intend to celebrate with her friend. As long as Stephens buy the drinks, who won a total of $3.7 Million in prize money at the US Open.
“Of course I will go to the celebration, I would 100% go. She can buy me drinks, all of the drinks,” she joked. “I think drinks will help me through this tough time.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Keys aims to utilize her newly found freedom on the court. Her battle with nerves continues to be an ongoing issue, but the American knows what she needs to do to play at her best.
“I think in a lot of ways the last couple of weeks for me has shown that when I kind of just relax and take the pressure off of myself good things can happen. So I’ll definitely try to replicate that in the future.” She explained.
Keys will rise to 12th in the world ranking on Monday, her highest position since May.