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October 22, 2016

Madison Keys

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Madison.

Q. Congratulations. At what point in the season did you believe you would get here?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, so I kind of had a slow start to my season. This wasn't really on the radar. Then even after Rome when I made the finals I noticed I was slowly kind of moving up in the race.

Then winning in Birmingham I was kind of definitely in it at that point. So that's when I really knew that I could make it, and it became a big goal of mine to be able to get here.

Q. Do you feel coming in here you have nothing to lose?
MADISON KEYS: I'm really excited to be here. It was a big goal of mine and it's always been a big goal of mine to make the Finals, so being here is a huge accomplishment for me.

But I definitely want to do well here and prove that I've worked really hard to get here and I'm here for a reason.

Q. (No microphone.)
MADISON KEYS: I would probably just get to celebrate with my team and all that. Hopefully that is something that I have to plan.

Q. Last week you were saying you were feeling a little under the weather. How are you feeling this week?
MADISON KEYS: I feel a lot better. Was definitely not feeling good in Linz. Had a couple days to recover and I am feeling a lot better.

So excited to play tomorrow.

Q. A little raspy from the party last night?
MADISON KEYS: No, still working out the cold. It's not that exciting.

Q. Looking at the group that you've been drawn in, what was your reaction to just how the white group played out?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, everyone here is tough. No matter what group you're in you know it's going to be a tough match every single time. Everyone has obviously done really well to get here.

So knowing I was going into that group, I just knew either way it's a tough first round. You know, just really looking forward to getting out there and playing matches finally.

Q. You'll have to play Simona and Angie, matches that you've played; tough matchup for you. How do you approach that? How much of an opportunity do you see it as playing both of those players?
MADISON KEYS: It's a big opportunity. It shows these are some of the best players of the year, and the good news is that I have beaten them before. I do know I can do it.

Yeah, I'm just really looking forward to going out and playing the other women who have been playing the best of the season.

Q. Besides Serena and Venus, you're the first American really to break through in a long time into the top 10 and to really show that there could be another player at the top. Do you feel these an awesome responsibility or something you relish? What's your attitude?
MADISON KEYS: I think it's great. I think it was definitely really surprising that I was the first American to break into the top 10 for that long. There have been a lot of great American players who I thought had made it, but obviously not.

But I just look at it as a great accomplishment and a huge opportunity to go out and just, you know, play tennis and have fun and maybe inspire some more young American girls to pick up some racquets.

Q. You posted recently on social media about some really bad online abuse you got after a match. What did you hope to convey by posting that, or what do you hope will change?
MADISON KEYS: I think just showing that it's kind of a daily struggle that all of us are dealing with. Sometimes it just becomes too much. I just think there has to be a way to kind of monitor it a little bit more. You know, it seems like a lot of times we'll report a person and we get a response that they couldn't find enough evidence that they did anything.

So I think social media has to be able to kind of help us in that sense. But also just that it's happening, and we as people have to do the best that we can to stop it, which is a big part of why I'm doing FearlesslyGIRL, you know, going into schools where cyberbullying is also happening, and stopping it at a younger age I think could be really beneficial.

Q. This feels like your best season in terms of being fit and healthy. When do you think from that point of view your season caught fire in terms of being able to manage your health and fitness rather than just the consistency of results?
MADISON KEYS: I had to hire someone to pretty much be with me every day after last year. It just became really disappointing that I kept getting myself into good positions and then was getting hurt.

Even at the beginning of the year I got hurt out of a completely not court-related incident. So this whole year has been a huge thing, is that I just know I have to have someone help keep me on the court. There's going to be someone who's going to be with me all the time.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about your first opening match against Simona and what you think you need to do to kind of turn that around?
MADISON KEYS: I'm looking forward to it. Just playing her in Wuhan, I think she played really well there, but I think a big part was that I got really passive and I got behind the baseline and let her start dictating.

You know, that's going to be something I'm going to have to step up and go for my shots in the smartest way I can, really just believe that I can do it.

Q. I'm just wondering, I don't know if sympathy is the right word, but what did all the other girls think of Johanna Konta's plight last night, sitting in the front row in a nice dress and not knowing whether she's playing or not?
MADISON KEYS: I think that that was probably really tough. I think we all kind of definitely felt for her. I definitely think it has to be something that's addressed. I don't think waiting until the day before we play is the best way to find out if you're in the tournament or not.

Q. Seems very easy to rectify in that the tournament that takes plays after this one should take place before it, shouldn't it, and then the top eight would be known?
MADISON KEYS: I'm sure there is a lot more going on that the players don't know about, so I can't tell you exactly if it's easy or not. But I definitely think something should be looked into.

Q. Looking back at the season, could you tell us a little bit about what have been your highlights and possibly your toughest moments?
MADISON KEYS: I think highlights were getting into the top 10 for sure; winning my second title. I think another big highlight was making a final on red clay, which in the past I haven't always loved red clay. Slowly I'm beginning to love it.

I think probably the toughest moment has been losing that third and fourth match in Rio. Definitely one of the toughest matches that I've had to play.

Q. How have you found the court conditions on that center court?
MADISON KEYS: I think they're nice. They're playing a little bit slower than what Linz was playing, but it was actually really nice to be able to go and play an indoor tournament and then come here. It feels pretty similar. The ball stays really low. Definitely a faster court, so I'm not complaining about that. (Smiling.)

Q. At tournaments like this family can come because you know you're playing three matches. Any of your sisters here? Mom? Anybody?
MADISON KEYS: I'm by myself. Sisters are in school; mom is working and looking after sisters. Yeah. They at least know where I am this week, though. (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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