Madison Keys: “I'm really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament. It's my first one. Just looking forward to having more” - UBITENNIS
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Madison Keys: “I’m really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament. It’s my first one. Just looking forward to having more”



TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 29th of January 2015. S.Williams d. M.Keys 7-6, 6-2. An interview with Madison Keys

Q. Congratulations. What a tournament.

MADISON KEYS: Thanks. I’m really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament. It’s my first one. Just looking forward to having more. Hopefully have a couple where I’m with the trophy at the end of the week.

Q. How do you feel you handled the moment in terms of nerves, tactics?

MADISON KEYS: I think I handled the moment pretty well. I definitely had a good start, so nerves didn’t totally play into that. I thought I handled myself pretty well in that last serving game of mine. But, I mean, she played really well. She served really well. It was pretty much impossible for me to break her serve. So, you know, great job to her today.

Q. How is the adductor?

MADISON KEYS: It’s okay. It’s not perfect. But, you know, I had plenty of tape on it, I had plenty of medication. Did my best.

Q. Didn’t affect you at all?

MADISON KEYS: I’m not going to sit up here and make excuses for today. So, you know, it was what it was. I did my best. She played really well. All credit to her.

Q. Prematch you said you wanted to focus on what you could do, not worry so much about her. Were you happy you were able to do that?

MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I was. I think in that situation you can almost get overwhelmed if you start focusing on Serena being on the other side of the court. So, you know, I really just tried to focus on myself and play within myself. I thought I did a pretty good job.

Q. You mentioned the serve, but what is the quality of her ball? What is it like compared to other players?

MADISON KEYS: I mean, her ball’s not like anyone else’s. It comes hard; it comes deep. You never have the feeling of I can control every ball that comes towards me. She’s definitely one of the very few that can hit like that.

Q. Were you surprised or pleased with how your game stacked up against her? Looked like you had control in a lot of those rallies. Hitting a heavy ball. Were you surprised she was struggling a little bit handling your pace?

MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I was. I thought there was definitely a lot of points where I was controlling the point, was getting ahead in the point, staying in longer rallies, and things like that. That’s definitely something I’m happy about. That’s something that I’m going to keep working on.

Q. There have been a bunch of stats that have surfaced saying talking about your higher groundstrokes speeds than anybody on the men’s or women’s tour right now. Do you feel like you can out-hit anybody at all times?

MADISON KEYS: I don’t really think about it, honestly. I kind of just go out and hit the ball. So the fact that it’s coming off my racquet that hard is nice. But like I had that stat at the French Open and I lost first round, so it doesn’t really say much (smiling).

Q. You’re going to have your highest ranking ever. How do you stay in this and try to avoid what might be an easy letdown after all the excitement this week?

MADISON KEYS: I think, again, it’s just doing what I was doing all off-season: putting in the hours, doing my best on the practice court, staying in shape. That’s really all that I can ask myself to do.

Q. Maria Sharapova said earlier after playing you last year she wasn’t surprised by the progress you’ve made throughout this tournament. Are you surprised in yourself? Could you have expected yourself to be where you are now a fortnight ago?

MADISON KEYS: I think it’s one of those things where I wanted it, and it’s one of those things that you know, those mornings you don’t want to get out of bed, these are the moments that make yourself get up, go to practice, and do things like that. So I’ve definitely put in the work. I’m just really happy to see that it’s paying off. Did I think it was going to happen here? Not particularly. But I’m very happy that it did.

Q. The other day you said your sisters do a really good job on keeping you humble. What do you think they’ll do now to keep you humble?

MADISON KEYS: Well, my sister actually sent me a really nice message. She actually watched my match. But, I mean, other than that, I have amazing sisters. They’re always there to either bring me up or put me back down on the ground. I mean, they just treat me like I’m their older sister. They don’t treat me any other way. I don’t expect them to.

Q. You’re now 20th ranked Madison Keys, Grand Slam semifinalist. Everyone is going to see you coming. You’re marked now. You’re no longer the underdog. How do you feel about that?

MADISON KEYS: It’s one of those things where eventually in your career, it kind of switches from being the young up-and-comer to someone who has had results and the other person is trying to raise their level to play. I think it’s a privilege. I’m just going to do my best to try to stay here.

Q. There hasn’t been a Lindsay question yet. Could you have done this without her?

MADISON KEYS: You mean there hasn’t been a Lindsay question today. No, she’s really helped me. She’s part of the reason why I’ve been so quiet on Twitter. It’s her saying that it’s very easy to get sidetracked, to get caught up in everything. So having her to help me through this has been amazing.

Q. The second serve today was pretty critical in the match. Did you hit your second serve well or could you do better? How do you think Serena handled it today compared to other players?

MADISON KEYS: I think I could have hit it better, but I also don’t think I hit it badly. She does an amazing job at attacking slower serves. I really wasn’t even hitting that slow of a serve, but she was taking advantage of it. You know, it’s one of those things where I’m going to have to go back and just try to get it better so that in those circumstances it doesn’t happen so much again.

Q. Fed Cup, Serena said she would like you to play some of her games for you. A chance to spend time with someone like that?

MADISON KEYS: Anytime I can spend time around Venus or Serena, it’s obviously a privilege. Obviously I can learn a lot with them.

Q. Are you planning on playing Fed Cup with the adductor issues?

MADISON KEYS: We’ll see. I kind of have to see how quickly I can recover from this. Still kind of up in the air about it.


EXCLUSIVE: Wimbledon Great Billie Jean King Gives Her Verdict On Jasmine Paolini



Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss in the Royal Box - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Billie Jean King has told Ubitennis the game style of Italy’s Jasmine Paolini is ‘perfect’ for the grass as she pays tribute to the 28-year-old. 

King, who won 20 Wimbledon titles in both singles and doubles during her career, praised Paolini just hours before her semi-final match against Donna Vekic. The world No.7 had never won a match at The All England Club until this year but has stormed through the tournament by dropping one set in five matches played. She has beaten players such as former US Open champion Bianca Andreeescu, Madison Keys (who retired at 5-5 in the final set due to injury) and Emma Navarro. 

“I’ve always liked watching Jasmine for a while now, and I got to see her last year at the Billie Jean King Cup,” the 80-year-old told Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta.
“Italy lost to Canada, but I saw her there and she was amazing.
“Finally at 28, she’s she’s doing what I think she should have been doing.”

Paolini is enjoying the best season in her career. She won her first WTA 1000 title in Dubai, reached the final of the French Open and at least the semi-finals at Wimbledon. She is the oldest player on the WTA Tour to reach their first two major semi-finals since 1977, according to OptaAce. 

As for the grass, King says Paolini has a ‘perfect’ game for the surface. Even though the tennis star has previously spoken about her mixed feelings about playing on the surface. 

“On grass. She’s perfect.” King stated. 
“She’s low to the ground, she can volley, she can hit Groundstrokes. Big forehand. Unbelievable.”

Paolini is one of three women aged 28 or older to reach the last four at Wimbledon. Something that last occurred in 2018. As for the reason behind these players coming to top form at a later age, King admits she hasn’t got an explanation. 

“I have no idea.” She said
“I think she’s (Paolini) finally found herself and everybody gets to be their best at different ages.
“This year at Wimbledon, it seems like in the women’s events it’s now that they’re older, they’re doing better. So I don’t get it, to be honest.
“It’s the weirdest Wimbledon ever and I’ve been coming here since 1961!”

King has won an incredible 175 titles during her career in the Open Era. 101 of those were in doubles, 67 in singles and seven in mixed doubles.  

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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-No.1 Nenad Zimonjic Gives His Verdict On Djokovic And The Wimbledon Crowd



Novak Djokovic might be the headline act when it comes to tennis in Serbia but Nenad Zimonjic also enjoyed his fair share of success in the sport. 

The 48-year-old is a former world No.1 in the men’s doubles which makes him one of only four players from his country to have ever topped the tennis rankings. During his career, he won eight Grand Slam doubles titles with five of them occurring in the mixed doubles. Overall, he won 53 trophies on the ATP Tour, as well as the Davis Cup where he later became the captain of the Serbian team.

Zimonjic has returned to Wimbledon this year to play in the Legends event. He has been keeping an eye on compatriot Djokovic and his bid to claim a historic 25th major title at Wimbledon.

“I think he’s been playing better and better as the tournament progresses.” He told Ubitennis.
“The last match (against Holger Rune), he played the best so far.
I expect him to play even better in the quarterfinal match against Alex de Minaur.”

Whilst Djokovic is gaining momentum, he has unexpectedly taken a swipe at the Center Court crowd following his latest win on Monday evening by accusing some members of being ‘disrespectful.’ Throughout the clash, there were shouts of the words ‘ruuune’ in a show of support for his Danish opponent. However, the world No.2 believes some were using those cheers as an opportunity to take a shot at him. 

Zimonjic, who is a long-time friend of Djokovic that travelled to Monte Carlo and Rome with him earlier this year, is unable to weigh in on this particular argument. However, he defends the British crowd at The All England Club where he made 18 main draw appearances as a professional player. 

“I didn’t get to see the whole match I cannot comment (on Djokovic’s remarks) because I wasn’t there.” He said. 
“But what I can say is that the crowd here (at Wimbledon) is very knowledgeable and really respectful to everybody.
“If there was somebody (being disrespectful to Djokovic) maybe there are a couple of people.
“So you cannot say this about the crowd. I’m sure it’s nothing nothing major.”

Djokovic continues to be a dominant force in tennis at the age of 37 and has no plans to step away anytime soon. However, when he does there will inevitably be a huge gap in Serbian tennis. The country currently has five players in the ATP Top 150 but only two of those are under the age of 25 – Hamad Medjedovic (20) and Miomir Kecmanovic (24). There is also 18-year-old Marko Maksimovic who is currently ranked in the junior top 20 on the boy’s Tour. 

“Hopefully some new, really good generations are coming up. We’ll see what the future brings.” Zimonjic commented. 
“It’s not going to be easy to match any of these results and the standards that he (Djokovic) achieved and all the records speak for themselves.
“Maybe they will never be broken, but, we’ll try to make it as better as possible.”

As for life on the Tour for those players, Zimonjic admits it is tough going due to the demanding schedule which starts from January until November. However, since last year the ATP have agreed to stage their Next Gen finals, which features the eight best players under the age of 21, in December. 

The schedule has been a long-debated subject that goes back to Zimonjic’s days on the Tour. 

“Our season is probably the longest in sport.” He said.
“It’s very demanding on the body, travelling, changing the time zones so you have to be extremely fit, mentally tough, and you need a really strong team around you and family support.
“If this can change, I don’t know. So far they (tennis’ governing bodies) haven’t found a way, but, hopefully, anyway, it got shorter a little bit compared to ten years ago was even longer.
“We had maybe three weeks to prepare for the next to rest and prepare for next season, which was really brutal.
“But the good thing is that tennis is very popular and people are following it.”

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘People Are Dying Everyday’ – Elina Svitolina’s Voice Is Important For Ukraine



Elina Svitolina (UKR) playing against Magda Linette (POL) in the second round of the Ladies' Singles on No.2 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 4 Thursday 01/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

There was little celebration from Elina Svitolina after she reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on a grave day for her home country. 

The world No.21 eased to a 6-2, 6-1, win over China’s Wang Xinyu without dropping serve, reaching the last eight of the tournament for the third time in her career. It is a huge boost for the 29-year-old who later admitted she didn’t feel like playing in the wake of a new attack against Ukraine. 

A Russian missile attack struck the country in daylight on Monday which resulted in the deaths of at least 36 people and caused significant damage to the main children’s hospital in Kyiv, according to officials. Reuters News Agency says they have a video showing a missile falling from the sky towards the children’s hospital followed by a large explosion.

“It’s an incredibly sad day today for all Ukrainians. It was really difficult for me to be here (at Wimbledon) in a way and do anything. I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions, with everything,” said Svitolina.

“Today was one of the days where it was even more difficult because the missile landed on the hospital, the kids’ hospital. Straightaway you see the images and everything that happened there. So many kids lost their lives.”

Svitolina took to the court wearing a black ribbon on her t-shirt in respect to those affected. The gesture was approved by The All England Club which usually has in place a strict all-white policy when it comes to attire. Throughout the war in Ukraine, she has spoken numerous times about the conflict and is an ambassador her the United24 fundraising platform, which was set up by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Evgeniy Zukin, who is the executive director of the Ukrainian Tennis Federation (UTF), spoke to Ubitennis following his compatriot’s latest win at SW19. He stresses the significance of Svitolina and her peers to continue speaking out about the war.

“It is important for Ukrainians to keep informing the world of the atrocities that are now happening in Ukraine,” said Zukin. 

“We know the public in the West is tired of bad news. Only disasters like today when many children were killed bring attention back to Ukraine. But unfortunately, people are dying every day and no less than today.”

Zukin’s words are also echoed by tennis journalist Sergey Kontorchik, who is the founder of Великий теніс України which is known in English as BTU. He is based in Dnipro, a city located in the centre of the Dnipropetrovsk Region which borders Donetsk. As somebody living in the conflict zone, Kontorchik is frustrated by the promotion of Russian and Belarussian athletes in the media whilst his athletes suffer. 

“No one is interested in the mental state of Ukranian players. You saw how hard it was for Svitolina after the match today,” he told Ubitennis from Dnipro on Monday afternoon.

“For Ukrainians, it is hard and it hurts. Our players receive negative criticism for not shaking hands with representatives of these countries. We are pushed to the background, far away, so as to not bring up an uncomfortable topic, the war, which continues to destroy our country.

“It is important to us (Ukrainians) when players talk and remind the world about the war, that Ukraine is still alive and continues to fight for independence. 

“It’s clear many people have forgotten.”

Wimbledon had previously banned Russian and Belarussian players from competing in the tournament in 2022 amid concerns that those governments could use the event as propaganda. The move prompted backlash from the governing bodies who removed the allocation of rankings points that year. The ban was lifted in 2023. 

“I would prefer that (the ban to still be in place) but it is how it is now,” said Svitolina. “I cannot change. We tried every possible way to talk with many organizations.

“For now I just want to raise awareness, to raise funds for people in need, to raise support for the kids through my foundation, through United24. So many ways we can help people and not only focus on the things we cannot control.”

The hope for Svitolina is that her tennis is providing comfort to those back home. Although dealing with her emotions due to the war is tough.

“I think for many Ukrainians they will share this feeling with me. We feel guilt that we feel happy or that we feel good. Not only because I’m in the quarterfinal of the Grand Slam but in everything,” she explained.

“Like you go on holidays, you feel guilty because you’re not in Ukraine. Many people cannot leave the country. Many people are at war. Many people are fighting, and defending our front lines.

“I think we’ve been living with this feeling for over two years. I mean, it’s nothing new. But yes, of course, it’s not a pleasant feeling to have.”

On court, things are going well for Svitolina. She has dropped only one set in the tournament so far, which was against Magda Linette in the first round. 

“She showed in the last year that she knows how to play on grass,” Zukin told Ubitennis about Svitolina. 

“After beating Ons Jabeur (in the third round) she felt confident and played flawlessly today.” 

Svitolina will next play Elina Rybakina. 

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