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January 11, 2020

Madison Keys

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

M. KEYS/P.Kvitova

3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Q. Your microphone throwing isn't quite as good as your tennis this week.
MADISON KEYS: I'm tired.

Q. Well done. What was the mental discussion, and Juan came out a couple times, but for you after that first set to try to settle in and find your -- a next better level?
MADISON KEYS: He pretty much just said just don't be discouraged. Petra was playing really well, and I felt like I had chances to be in the match but didn't really close on those opportunities. And he just said don't be discouraged, keep going, get yourself back in the match. And once I did, I feel like the momentum kind of kept going back and forth, but I was able to get a little bit of confidence and feel like I could work my way back into the second set. And then had a quick break at the start of the third, which also helped me feel like just carry on that momentum and confidence.

Q. When you come off a break, whether it be pre-season or what have you where you're working on things in particular, how hard is it to actively put those things into motion in matches like this one, or do you feel like you do have a fresh start to be able to have the space to do that?
MADISON KEYS: It's always, it's a little difficult just because you, obviously, want to work on the things that you're working on and try to put new things into your game, but at the same time it's the first match, you know, it's a first tournament, you're always a little bit nervous and feeling a little bit rusty, so it's kind of trying to force yourself to keep doing that no matter what, and obviously, the quicker that you can do it the more comfortable you'll feel with it throughout the year.

Q. I think this is probably your first time making the final at your first tournament of any season. How does it feel to do that? Does it feel more validating? I don't know, this is the longest you've ever, yeah, best run to start, so...
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I'm very happy. I'm very tired (laughing). It's always, I mean, it's always great to start the year playing some really good tennis. I've definitely started the year playing some really terrible tennis, so it's nice to be on this side of things for once.

Q. Five Americans into the finals across here and Auckland with Serena and Jessie and Asia and Taylor as well. So just, yeah, strong start for team America in week one.
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it's fun. I think, I mean, even Amanda played in the semis today and there were a lot of Americans in the quarterfinals here, and I think it was a strong start for the U.S. women across the board.

Q. Looking ahead, obviously, they're duking it out as we speak, but opportunity to play Naomi or Karolina. Can you talk through the challenges of playing each player?
MADISON KEYS: I've played Naomi a few times. She, obviously, beat me the last time that we played and has gone on to do a lot of really great things. So it's always tough when you play someone who is a Grand Slam champion. And she's really found her game since the time before the last time that we played each other, so that's obviously a difficult one. And then Karolina has been No. 1 in the world, she's the ace queen, so there's a lot of challenges no matter who wins that match.

Q. Seems like this week has been a little bit of an opportunity for you to get those wins, though, over players that maybe have either been tough for you in the past or you just never beaten in the past, like Sam and Petra, and your guys' back and forth. So an opportunity, I mean, that's kind of an a nice little wave of momentum going into a final?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, a hundred percent. It's definitely nice to get a win over someone that you've never beaten before or, I mean, I think Petra and I always have super long competitive matches, so it's always great to be able to come out from those matches, and not only just for this tournament, but just to be able to have a lot of great matches right off the start going into the new season.

Q. The forehand-winner that you hit on 3-2, 15-love, with Kvitova serving, is that one of the best shots you ever hit?
MADISON KEYS: This year, yeah.

Q. How would you rate your performance in the third set?
MADISON KEYS: I think in the third set it was a little bit back and forth. I think we were both returning really well, so it actually, the return games were actually very competitive. But, yeah, I mean, I think from getting broken in the second set on I think I played a pretty high level.

Q. I saw you posted a postcard that you got from a fan here. Is this a unique thing to this tournament, that sort of fan mail program here, and what does it feel like to get that sort of encouragement?
MADISON KEYS: It's so sweet. I love getting fan mail. I mean, at slams you'll get something sent and then they put them in kind of like little mail boxes for us. But I've never had it quite like this and I think it's a really good idea, I like it.

Q. You're someone with FearlesslyGiRL, and just in general you have that like nice interaction with especially young kids, and the note from Ethan was very sweet. Do you feel like that has played a part in your motivation on court or your relationship, especially with younger fans and how you perform out on the court?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thing is I've made a very conscious effort to kind of remind myself that I want to be someone that young kids can look up to, and I try to be on my best behavior, and I love younger kids, they're super fun and I get to act like an idiot, so it's always fun for me. So they're actually some of like the fans that I relate to the most and the easiest. So I think it's all, not only about getting them excited about tennis and enjoying watching it, but I think the more that you can get them excited about watching tennis, the more that they will play and then the more that we can grow the sport.

Q. Courtney mentioned, obviously, the American women's success this week. I don't know if you talked about this yet this week, but big push for Tokyo, I think for a lot of players this year. Is that for you? Do you feel that extra motivation to get to Tokyo, and especially among the U.S. women it's a fierce battle for those spots.
MADISON KEYS: It's definitely going to be interesting. I think it's going to probably go down to like the last week to qualify for Tokyo. It's always such an honor to be able to play for your country. And to be able to go to the Olympics is always something that all of us dream of. So it's definitely something that's in the back of my mind. I'm just going to try to not think about it too much and put even more pressure on myself.

Q. Do you know when that last week is? Those cutoff dates?
MADISON KEYS: I know the cutoff date (laughing).

Q. Just checking. I'm just curious, with all the talk about ATP Cup and maybe a WTA Cup or something coming in the future, if it was up to you, would you like to see this week stay the way it is with this tournament, or would you like to see something different on the calendar?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I love the tournament. I've played it multiple years and I would happily come back and play again. I also see that people are really excited about team events and changing tennis in the smallest ways. So I mean, I'm kind of 50/50 on it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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