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January 25, 2022

Madison Keys

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

M. KEYS/B. Krejcikova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Back in the semis here for the first time in seven years. How do you feel?

MADISON KEYS: I feel great. I think I played a pretty solid match today, but just so happy to be back in the semifinals here for the first time in a long time.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are the keys you think after all you've learned of staying in the moment in a match now, being able to play it point by point?

MADISON KEYS: I think that's really important. I think it's still something that I don't think anyone is perfect at. You can kind of lose that even throughout a match, just getting a little bit ahead of yourself. I think I even did that today early in the second set.

I think the biggest key is just being able to reel it back in and then refocus very quickly and catching yourself. I think that's the thing that I've been just really focusing on the most, is acknowledging when I'm either not playing the right way, getting ahead of myself, anything, just stopping it once it's a point or two or a game versus all of a sudden you look up and it's been three or four games.

Q. Do you look back at some of those previous semifinals and take things to learn or do you take every challenge as a new one?

MADISON KEYS: I think you take the experience out of it. I know I'm going to feel nervous. I know I'm going to be excited. I know all of those feelings are going to be there.

But it's also a completely different situation, time and person, all of that. I think you take the experience that you have from those moments and you try to apply it, but you also know that it's going to be a completely different challenge.

Q. You've had success in Australia before, won in Adelaide, second semi here in Melbourne. What about Australia brings the best out of you?

MADISON KEYS: Honestly, I lover it here. I also really love playing in the heat, being from Florida. I always love coming here.

I think it's also such a great place to start the new year. Everyone is so excited to watch the tennis. The tennis fans here are great. You can tell that they truly love tennis. They're so excited. The energy is always amazing.

I think honestly it's probably a player favorite slam. Everyone is so great to us. The organization is just very welcoming.

Q. Barbora took a timeout at the end of the first set. Did you think that was a heat thing or something else wrong with her? You spoke about not getting ahead of yourself. How difficult was it to not do that when you could see she was in some distress?

MADISON KEYS: I honestly didn't think much about what was going on with her. I obviously noticed that there was something that she was dealing with. I wasn't going to sit there and try to diagnose her from my chair.

The second set I think she obviously was struggling a little bit, but she was also hitting some really great shots. It was a little bit difficult to try to balance out on my side of the net. I just had to take the time to refocus and just focus on my side of the net.

Q. You may play Ash Barty in the next round. Her slice backhand seems to be a bit of a point of difference. What makes that so difficult to play?

MADISON KEYS: I think the reason Ash's slice is so good is just because she's able to hit it really no matter how big the ball that's coming in, which I think not a lot of other women in this era have been able to do. I think she does such a good job at resetting the point constantly, being able to get back to neutral off of a ball. You can't do a ton off of her slice because it comes in so low.

I think that's obviously one of her weapons because then she can set it up to look for a forehand. Obviously once Ash is looking for a forehand, then she can kind of start controlling the point.

Q. You've hit 157 winners this tournament, which is pretty crazy. Is that as well as you've hit the ball in your career?

MADISON KEYS: I don't know. Obviously I've been playing well and I've been winning a lot of matches here. Whatever I'm doing, it's currently working for me (smiling).

Q. In cases where you don't need to crush the ball, you're not crushing the ball, which has not always been the case, if I can permit myself to say that. Is that something that's a work in progress? Is that really intentional?

MADISON KEYS: I've been working on it a lot. As you said, it's not something that I used to necessarily do in the past.

Really just trying to be a lot more measured and just playing within myself a little bit more, not necessarily trying to hit a winner on that ball, just constantly trying to set the point up to get to the net to try to finish off on even the next ball. If it happens to be a winner, then it happens to be a winner.

Q. If you do play Jessie, talk about your connection, what that match would mean.

MADISON KEYS: I mean, if I play Jessie, it will be great to have two Americans in the semifinals. That will be really cool. I have known Jess for a very long time. I mean, no matter who wins, it will be a very difficult match. I think it will be very different matchups.

I think Ash, obviously great slice, can dominate with her forehand. Jess I feel like does not give you the baseline, can hit a winner from any point, absorbs really well, can fire a ball right back at you.

Either way it will be a pretty tough match.

Q. Does it feel different this time around to 2015 in reaching the semifinals?

MADISON KEYS: I would say it mostly feels different because I'm seven years older and it's not my first semifinal of a slam. I think I'm a little bit more prepared this time around than I was all those years ago.

Q. What is your mindset at this point? Do you feel you're playing with house money, this has been a success? Is there an ambitious voice in your head that says this is your moment?

MADISON KEYS: I honestly feel pretty neutral, to be completely honest with you. I have gone into every match thinking I can absolutely win any match that I'm out on the court. I will say it's been kind of nice to be the underdog for the first time in a long time (smiling).

It's really just not even in my head about winning and losing. It's really just going out, competing, trying to do what the game plan is. If that's not working going to Plan B. The rest is kind of not even getting into my brain.

Q. I believe the semifinals are night session matches. How much does that change your preparation? Do you practice in the evening or do what's working?

MADISON KEYS: I think I'm just going to do what's working. I feel like I've played a lot of night matches in my career. I don't necessarily feel like I need to force myself to try to practice later or do any of that.

I definitely will try to sleep in more the next day and not start my day at 6 a.m. Other than that, probably just try to keep it very similar.

Q. What's going to be the most important thing for you to do or not do playing the semifinal?

MADISON KEYS: I think the most important thing is continuing to focus on my side of the net, focus on my game plan, playing within myself.

No matter who I play, it's obviously going to be two very different game plans, but that's all I'm going to focus on and worry about that, not worry about the end of the match. I'll just stay very focused on point by point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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