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INTERNAZIONALI BNL D'ITALIA

May 13, 2019

Madison Keys

Rome, Italy

M. KEYS/P. Hercog

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little tight there in the second set.
MADISON KEYS: Yes.

Q. Talk through that match a little bit.
MADISON KEYS: Obviously good to get the win. It's always tough playing a first match. Had a couple of match points, played what I would think are not bad points but just missed the last ball.

But then I thought I did a pretty good job in the tiebreaker just staying ahead, being a little bit more comfortable and relaxed, being able to close it out once I finally got that last match point.

Q. Last week obviously was a little bit of a situation where this match could have flipped that way as well. Talk through how you were able to keep calm and steady in that second set when it got tight.
MADISON KEYS: It's definitely something I'm working on. I think a lot of my ups and downs come from how I am mentally, handling nerves. I mean, I've talked about it before. It's something I'm still working on. That was a big focus today.

I think, considering the situation, I did a pretty good job bouncing back, not letting it derail me.

Q. Is there something about Rome and the conditions here? Obviously it seems like everybody has their favorite clay event that they seem to do really well in, and they almost never overlap for a lot of players. For you it's Rome, making the final before. Something about the conditions here, even on a day like today, that suits you?
MADISON KEYS: I think it's just something that I feel really comfortable here. I feel like in Madrid I always feel the altitude a little bit more. It's a tough, tough place to play on clay because clay is obviously slowing it down, but the altitude makes the ball go faster.

A little bit harder for me to wrap my brain around it than when I get here and everything is kind of back to normal for me and I feel like I can set the point up, I can swing. I feel really comfortable here. Obviously always having really good memories helps.

Q. It's like the Indian Wells of clay.
MADISON KEYS: Yes.

Q. Madrid, the way it's conditioned.
MADISON KEYS: Yes.

Q. Kind of looking forward, last big event before Roland Garros, so what is your mindset coming into this tournament, obviously having the success you had in Charleston?
MADISON KEYS: Obviously it's just getting matches, feeling comfortable, feeling like I know how I want to play points. Even if I'm not executing them perfectly, at least I'm setting them up the right way, I'm still trying to do the right things. Then obviously managing my emotions and thoughts and nerves and all of that (smiling).

Q. How is the Madison Keys' head in Rome?
MADISON KEYS: You don't even want to know. It's a scary place (laughter).

Q. Non-tennis related question about the initiative that you're working on with FearlesslyGiRL, the kinder day.
MADISON KEYS: Kinder Girl World Day. I'll send you a hashtag (laughter).

I'm really excited about it. FearlesslyGiRL is obviously something I'm very passionate about. We've been able to help a lot of people. But it's been a much more local effort versus we've had a couple where we got to stream online, so we got to reach more people.

We're definitely trying to make this a bigger, impactful day where you can tweet about any woman who inspires you, you love, whatever adjective you want to use.

I'm really excited just because I think it's a good way to spread some kindness and positivity on social media, where we don't always see that. Just making small little changes like that, having a day just dedicated to saying really great things about people instead of the other stuff.

Q. This sounds like a vague, maybe obvious question. To you, what does 'being kinder' mean?
MADISON KEYS: I think it's one of those things where obviously there's days where we're in a bad mood or whatever. You don't go around saying horrible things to people. Kind of let yourself have your bad day, stay away from people.

I think because we don't see someone face-to-face on social media, it's so much easier to just say horrible, hateful things. It's something that obviously athletes are dealing with and celebrities are dealing with, but it's also something that kids in school are dealing with. They don't have the platform to talk about it, do something about it.

So for me it's just, one, talking about it. But, two, trying to have initiatives like this where we can promote an entire day of just trying to be nice to each other, lift each other up, give each other some compliments.

Q. A lot of celebrities have taken to social media to hit back a little bit more recently, with some big names hitting back at bloggers, social media. From a celebrity platform, that's one type of I guess hate that people get negativity from. From the platform that you're trying to reach with respect to girls everywhere, what can they take from that and apply?
MADISON KEYS: As far as like celebrities?

Q. Yes. They see these celebrities are doing it, they want to do it as well, but...
MADISON KEYS: I think at least I've always tried to do it in a way that you just kind of make the other person aware that there's someone on the other side of what they're sending. You don't always have to make it super funny or put them on Blast, try to get on Comments by Celebrities. I think it's important because a lot of them feel better once they stand up for themselves.

It was definitely something that made me feel a lot better. I think a lot of the times, even just talking about it, you don't have to comment back. Talking to someone about it, raising the awareness about it. It's amazing how many people still don't know that it goes on.

So I think the biggest thing is talk about it, whether it's responding back to that person directly or talking to a principal or a parent or whatever. I think it needs to be a conversation. It doesn't seem like we've gotten to that point yet.

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