TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 28th of January 2015. M.Keys d. V.Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. An interview with Madison Keys
Q. Tell us how you were feeling 1-4 down in the second, off the court getting treatment.
MADISON KEYS: It was definitely kind of a flashback to Wimbledon for me. Have had some problems with that part of my leg. So it was kind of an overwhelming moment. It was kind of scary. But luckily was able to catch it before I did any real damage to it. You know, luckily the painkillers and adrenaline in the end kind of helped me get through it.
Q. Did you feel it on that backhand you hit? Did you feel it coming into this match at all?
MADISON KEYS: I felt it since the beginning. It’s been tight, but it’s been something that, you know, with some treatment it’s been fine. Then one shot in the match, all of a sudden I felt it kind of really get tight. I thought I was close to pulling it. So at that moment, you know, I ignored it at Wimbledon, and, you know, tore it, which ultimately made me have to withdraw. At that moment it was kind of a panic of, I need to get some tape on this so I don’t do that again.
Q. How does it feel now?
MADISON KEYS: It still hurts. Definitely going to be getting some treatment on that. Hoping I can get it as good as possible for tomorrow.
Q. Is it your thigh particularly? What’s the actual injury?
MADISON KEYS: My left adductor.
Q. How do you think you will cope mentally carrying that injury going into the biggest match of your life?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I think it’s one of those things where all of us have dealt with injuries before. It’s one of those things where it’s probably going to hurt, I’m probably going to have tape on it, but I’m just going to do my absolute best and enjoy the moment.
Q. You’re the third 19-year-old in a row to make the semifinals here. Eugenie did it last year; Sloane did it the year before that. Did those runs at all make you think this was possible?
MADISON KEYS: I think Genie and Sloane are both really talented and can play some really good tennis. It’s not super surprising they made semifinals. But, no, it’s one of those things when you see some of your fellow peers doing well, going deep in tournaments, it’s inspirational. Makes you kind of believe that you can do the same.
Q. Did you get the sense you could kind of break her serve at will?
MADISON KEYS: I don’t think ‘at will’. I wish I could have done that. She still has an amazing serve. She’s still an amazing player. So at that point it was harder for me to serve. I felt like it was becoming easier for her to break me. So I felt towards the end I really had to focus on the return games a lot more and really making balls and trying to get as many points as possible.
Q. The winners count was 30-14 in your favor. Did you consciously resolve to go for it even more after the injury?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, at that point I knew I couldn’t run as much. I knew if I was going to get stretched out it was going to be more painful. It was kind of that thing if you have it, go for it, because I’m probably not going to last that long in a rally. That’s kind of what I did.
Q. Talk about how Lindsay prepared you for this match today, what kinds of things she told you last night or this morning to get you ready.
MADISON KEYS: I mean, she obviously played Venus a couple of times. She was just saying that she’s going to have great serves; she’s going to have great shots. It’s one of those things where when she starts playing really well, you can’t panic or get too far ahead of yourself. Really just stay focused on you and just do your best. Constantly try to keep some pressure on her.
Q. Your form was a little was a little bit up and down coming in I guess end of last year. Can you pinpoint a moment where it all turned around? I guess maybe the start of the second set against Casey here?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I mean, I’ve had some good wins; I’ve had some bad losses. That’s been my goal for the year, just being more consistent. Even playing badly, not being horrible. But, I mean, I think I’ve just kind of figured it out a little bit more. Just been more consistent and playing better. I don’t think it was specifically one point. I think it’s just getting better and better over time.
Q. You talked on the court about the moment of playing Venus. What would it be like to play Venus in the quarterfinal and Serena in the semifinal?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I have a feeling that’s what’s going to happen. I can tell you tomorrow.
Q. How do you prepare for Serena? You haven’t played her before. Obviously No. 1, top American, 18-time Grand Slam champion? How to you begin to attack all those things?
MADISON KEYS: It’s just one of those things where I have to go out and I have to do my best and I have to really just have to stay focused on my side of the court, because she’s obviously very, very good and she’s going to play very well. So if I get too focused on what she’s doing I think I can kind of let the moment get away from me. So I’m just really going to stay focused on myself.
Q. With the power and such a flat ball that you possess, when you go out there do you always feel the match is off your racquet?
MADISON KEYS: I don’t think so. I think against Petra and I think against Venus there was a lot of back-and-forth rallies where they had the edge, as well. I’m trying to have more matches where it’s off of my racquet, where I’m dictating, but I don’t think it’s my match.
Q. Aren’t you supposed to have two coaches this year?
MADISON KEYS: Originally Lindsay was going to help me out until I could find a full-time coach, and then she decided she really liked it and could figure something out.
Q. That’s why it didn’t work out with Wim?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it was just too many voices and things like that. Then Lindsay decided that she could make it more of a full-time thing.
Lorenzo Musetti: “A Year with Few Peaks, but I’ve Improved as a Tennis Player and Physically” [Exclusive]
Our correspondent in Sofia interviewed Italian talent Lorenzo Musetti, who is taking on Jack Draper this afternoon
Lorenzo Musetti is the top seed in the ATP 250 that together with Metz closes the season of “regular” tournaments, just before the ATP Finals in Turin. Exempted from the first round, he’s waiting to make his debut in the Bulgarian capital where last year at the beginning of October he was halted in the semifinals by Marc-Andrea Huesler, the future winner of the tournament. With our correspondent in Sofia, Ivan Mrankov, he compared this season with 2022, but also about the Davis Cup, and Jannik Sinner.
“Greetings from Ubaldo. It’s the last tournament, how do you rate your season? Was it maybe less positive than last year when you won two tournaments? But there are improvements in all areas of your game and it’s also normal for younger players to have a less rewarding year after their first breakthrough. Do you feel improved, do you think it was a positive season?”
“It’s not been an easy season, but as you said, it’s also been a season in which I have been settling in. In the middle part I was able to find a very good continuity in terms of results. Of course, it started off a bit badly. As I had played so much at the end of last season, it was perhaps more complicated to start the new year in high gear. So it took me a while to get going, I played very well from Monte Carlo. Let’s say it was a season with few peaks. Last year, the weeks in Hamburg, Naples, Paris-Bercy were very high in terms of level.”
“For sure I feel improved in terms of tennis and physically, I’m working hard, even if people sometimes only see the results but not what’s behind them. It was a season of firsts. Even if we consider the example of Jannik, last year he had a season of adaptation, different from the standards he has displayed on court this year. And I also hope next year to be more focused, more concrete in terms of results, attitude and everything.”
“You’re part of the Davis Cup team again this year, so your season will end pretty late. Do you think you’ll be able to prepare better than last year as you have the same amount of time to rest and train? And last question, what do you think your chances for Davis are? Since the USA, Russia, Spain are missing… Our editor wrote that Italy is the favourite along with Djokovic’s Serbia.”
“I think other teams as well, like Australia and Canada who won last year. The Davis Cup is a unique event, not always the team with the best ranked players comes out the winner. And the doubles rubber is fundamental. Having Jannik in our team gives us a great hand. I think he’s playing his best tennis right now. I wish him all the best in Turin and that he can join us as late as possible. It’s a huge boost for us.
“In terms of preparation, almost all the players have a month, December, to prepare for Australia. Unfortunately, when we all play so much, we have to adapt. We could do with more days off and obviously more weeks to load, work and prepare for the season. But you have to be good at making do with what we’ve got. And also, during the year, we have to specially focus on maintaining injury prevention.”
EXCLUSIVE: Coach Gilles Cervara On Medvedev’s Vienna Defeat, Sinner’s Rise And The Future
By Federico Bertelli
At the end of the final, once the confetti had settled and the staff began to dismantle the court, Ubitennis exchanged a few words with Gilles Cervara, the coach of Daniil Medvedev, following the conclusion of the Vienna Open. Medvedev was ousted 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3, by Jannik Sinner in a thrilling final.
QUESTION: It was an incredible match, one of the best of the year, what are your immediate feelings?
CERVARA: I’m really disappointed and somewhat angry. However, Sinner played an incredible match. I mean, to score a point against him today was very difficult because at any moment he could hit a winner with one of his “laser shots” as I call them; and even when Daniil managed to hit well and make him run, you got the feeling that he could send the ball back; he managed to defend very quickly and deeply and then turn the momentum of the exchange. And even when Daniil managed to serve good first serves, Sinner responded very well. Daniil was very brave to come back into the match and he also had his chances to win and he really pushed Jannik to the limit; unfortunately, though, in the end, the match went in Jannik’s direction.
QUESTION: It could have really ended with either Jannik or Daniil’s victory; if you had to say, were you more impressed by Jannik’s improvement in the offensive phase or the defensive phase?
CERVARA: I would say that there have been improvements in every aspect of his game. I’m really happy for him and his team. It’s always a nice thing when you see someone who manages to improve so much and works so seriously. I see them every week for many months and to see the level they are reaching is remarkable. In general, it is rewarding and significant to see the results when one has worked so hard. Then in general, Jannik is good both in defense and in attack. He manages to put so much speed to his shots effortlessly and now he is playing without making the mistakes he did before (the same observation was also made by Medvedev in the press conference). Playing against him now is really a great challenge and even his first serve now is faster. He’s playing better and better in every aspect and winning finals gives great confidence for the future. And in general, it’s good for tennis that there are so many players capable of reaching such a high level.
QUESTION: Can we say then that Jannik has now reached the same level as Daniil, Novak, and Carlos?
CERVARA: Yes, definitely, he’s just started to reach these levels and to win consistently, in big events against top players; the challenge for him will be to confirm himself at this level and in the Grand Slam tournaments; I just hope it doesn’t happen against us (smiling).
QUESTION: This year has been excellent for Daniil, even though there have been some difficulties at the beginning; for example, in Australia, he lost to Korda and for a few weeks even dropped out of the top ten; but then what changed? Was there something that clicked?
CERVARA: That period was difficult; after the Australian Open, it was complicated as a coach; I told Daniil at the time that it was not a disgrace to lose to Korda, who was playing well and perhaps Daniil at the same time was not at 100% and was not able to beat that day’s version of Korda; but in any case, there was nothing to be ashamed of, the important thing was to remain calm and analyze why we had lost against that type of player, what had put Daniil in difficulty and work on it to rebuild confidence. But it’s not automatic, otherwise, it would be easy. At those times the challenge for a coach is precisely to rebuild the player’s confidence; this is something you do day by day, and every day was a challenge and it was not easy. You need to maintain a fighting spirit, look for solutions, and accept the moments of difficulty. I am happy to have remained strong, to have maintained trust and inner calm to try to be the best version of myself and the best possible coach at that time. Daniil is someone who wants to fight, find solutions and win, even when he goes crazy on the court. We both tried to do our best and since he has great talent and has the ability to reach a high level, so in the end he found the way back to winning and to being “on fire,” a bit like Sinner now who is putting together a series of victories.
QUESTION: One last question, from a physical standpoint Daniil this year has had an extraordinary season and will end up playing more than 80 matches; in the coming years do you think he will reduce his commitments (curiously, this was also an aspect touched upon by Medvedev in the press conference)?
CERVARA: It’s a good question, and it’s a question that only top players when they have more experience can afford to ask themselves. A bit like Novak who now does not play all the tournaments and focuses only on the most important ones. But you can afford to make these considerations only if you win and it’s a question we will start to ask ourselves also with Daniil; he is now 27 years old, runs a lot, has a taxing tennis game. He has already won the most important tournaments and consequently, he will have to focus on those and perhaps set aside some lesser ones.
(EXCLUSIVE) Bryan Shelton, Father And Coach Of Ben: “A Break After Tokyo? He Didn’t Even Consider It”
“A win gives you confidence. A loss teaches you something more about yourself,” says the father-coach of the young American. “Sinner? A genuine and smiling person.”
by Federico Bertelli
If Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are increasingly establishing themselves as the present of men’s tennis, there are already those who are eager to challenge them. And the name on everyone’s lips right now is Ben Shelton. The 21-year-old American, fresh from winning his first tournament in Tokyo, has risen to the world’s number 15 spot with a powerful and effervescent game, and he recently also had the satisfaction of beating the Italian number 1 Jannik Sinner (in Shanghai).
Earlier this week at the Vienna Open Ubitennis had an exclusive interview with Bryan Shelton, Ben’s father and coach.
Bryan, 57 years old and a native of Florida, has an impressive past as a professional tennis player, with two ATP singles titles under his belt (both on the grass of Newport in the two-year period 1991-92), a best ranking of world number 55, and even a mixed doubles final at the 1992 French Open, partnering with Lori McNeil. His best Grand Slam placement is the fourth round of Wimbledon in 1994, where he was defeated by the Swede Christian Bergström.
UBITENNIS: First of all, we appreciate your time and patience, Mr. Shelton. Well, I have many questions, but the first that comes to mind is this: For the first time, Ben played against a great player like Ruud on the clay in Barcelona, he showed a great attitude. He wasn’t afraid at all to face a Roland Garros finalist. What’s your perspective on his attitude? What has changed?
BRYAN: “I think he’s a great competitor; he loves to compete regardless of the level. Whether it’s a Challenger, ATP, or a Grand Slam tournament, he sees it as an opportunity to showcase his talent, his personality, and to have fun. And to challenge himself and get the chance to play against the best like Casper, Jannik, and others. He’s always excited. We left Tokyo yesterday (Monday), and we’ve just arrived here (Vienna). I must say he’s eager to play now. Many players, after a tournament, might think about taking a week off, but he never even considered a break. He wants to play again, you know? He loves the challenge. I like that he has that attitude because I think it’s special. Even when he’s not feeling 100%, he doesn’t look for excuses; he wants to compete. He wants to train; he wants to push. We just have to make sure he doesn’t push too hard”.
UBITENNIS: So, in terms of competitive spirit, you’ve never seen him be scared. For example, when he started college in the USA, did you ever see him be scared of some big player, or was he always like “Ok, go for it and let’s do our best”?
BRYAN: “I think he’s unique in that sense because he looks forward to those moments. Especially the more people watching, the better he plays. For me, it was the opposite. I’d see the big stadium and play a bit scared. One thing’s for sure; I know he’s very different from me. So my goal is not to set limits on him. To say everything is possible. And you just have to keep working hard. You need to keep learning from every experience, whether you win or lose. Both are positives. A win gives you confidence. A loss lets you learn more about yourself and your game and what you need to do to keep improving. So everything is positive, nothing is negative, I think that’s the mindset I want him to have every day; it’s like he always has something to gain. And if you think you have something to gain, then you’re not scared. For sure”.
UBITENNIS: Talking perhaps about the most important match of his career so far, the one against Djokovic at the US Open. After that game, how did he feel? Was it like, “I’m sorry I lost. I’m sorry I didn’t do this or that” or was it more like “I stuck to my plan. I did my best, and next time will be better”?
BRYAN: “I think it was the latter. He felt really good about the tournament. He accomplished some things there. Especially after a season where he wasn’t winning many matches. Coming there and winning all those matches (five) gave him confidence. And playing against Djokovic with confidence, I think was fantastic. He lost the match against a great champion. So I think he just learned from the match, went back to watch the video, really took time after the US Open to reflect on what he needs to do to keep improving so he can someday win that kind of match. Identifying things he can do better. And then get back to work.”
UBITENNIS: What do you think of Sinner this year? Because in my opinion, he’s really improving, starting to put something different in his game. He’s not just a big hitter, but sometimes he comes to the net, varies with drop shots, and is showing various new solutions.
BRYAN: “Yes, I think he’s an extraordinary player. An extraordinary person, you know, genuine. When you see him off the court, he’s always ready to greet you, to smile at you, and you have to admire his kindness, so we appreciate that. And then the tennis, for me, he’s definitely one of the top 5 in the world. He’s serving well, playing well from the baseline, returning well, and now he’s starting to come forward and execute at the net. I love seeing this in players because I want the same for Ben. I want him to continue developing to become a complete player. He’s a good example for Ben, someone young who’s also working to become complete. It’s a great opportunity, again, to play against one of the best.”
UBITENNIS: Last question: in a sport as competitive and individualistic as tennis, it’s hard to get along with other players and have friends. Because once you step onto the court, that’s your enemy. Which players does Ben get along best with? Does he have friends here? He’s relatively new on the circuit. He’s like a freshman.
BRYAN: “Oh, it’s funny. He has friends everywhere, you know. And I think his closest friends are the ones he knows best, like Maki McDonald, Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz. These guys have really welcomed him into the American tennis fraternity, and also Francis Tiafoe. All these guys have been very, very kind to him, welcoming him. So it’s been nice to see; then he has friends like Dan Evans, who treat him a bit like a little brother, you know. They put him in his place sometimes, but you know, in a playful and fun way. We’ve also met some nice coaches out here. For us, it’s essential to enjoy the time off the court as well as on it. It’s important to wear a smile, greet people, get to know them and learn more about them. I want him to go beyond just tennis.”
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