Madison Keys is cautiously optimistic to not get back into the “deep dark pit of despair”, which stalled her career, as the former U.S.Open finalist heads into the 2022 Australian Open full of confidence after her latest triumph at the Adelaide International tournament. American Keys comfortably defeated compatriot Alison Riske 6-1, 6-2 in 66 minutes to clinch the title on Saturday. The former world number seven claimed her sixth WTA title and first since 2019 and set her up for a first round clash against number 11 seed Sofia Kenin at Melbourne Park on Monday.
— Adelaide International (@AdelaideTennis) January 15, 2022
“I think the biggest thing that I’m going to do is just remind myself what I was thinking and what I was focusing on this week, continuing to do that,” Keys said on Saturday.
“Obviously that’s easier said than done. Just knowing from what I was thinking about last year and the deep, dark pit of despair that I put myself into because of that, I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t want to let myself borderline hate being on the tennis court and hate competing. If I let myself think that way, that’s where it goes.”
Keys had a bright strat to her career, winning her first Tour title at the age of 19 in Eastbourne, in 2014 before reaching the Semifinals of Australian open, a year later. In 2017, she went all the way through to the final at Flushing Meadows but lost the title decider to compatriot Sloane Stephens.
However, Keys then had a downfall in her career as she failed to handle the pressure of staying at the top with the best in the world. Keys has now finally got back to winning ways and the world No. 51 is now aiming to get back to the upper echelons of the sport.
“I just had to talk myself off of the ledge of it doesn’t really matter,” said Keys, who jumped 36 places in the rankings to 51st after her win in Adelaide.
“All that really matters is going out the next day and competing the best that you can. It’s definitely something that I’m having to actively almost fight myself against. But I just know for my mental well-being that’s what I have to do.”