Keys looks forward to defending Charleston title as clay season begins
It is a well known fact that American tennis players do not perform well on clay-courts, outside of perhaps Serena Williams. However, World No.24 Madison Keys has been the rare exception, as the American prepares to defend her Volvo Car Open title in Charleston this week.
The 2017 US Open finalist has a stellar record on hardcourts, but surprisingly has also done well on clay. Keys reached the semifinals of Roland Garros in 2018, finished runner-up in Rome in 2016 and has twice reached the finals in Charleston, winning the title in 2019.
The 26-year old, who often relies on big groundstrokes, spoke about her clay court prowess before last week's Miami Open.
“I’ve actually gotten much more comfortable on clay, especially the last five or six years," revealed Keys. "I have consistently gotten better and better on clay. I think my game is actually really suited to clay, as long as I mentally am ready to be committed to playing those two or three more extra balls every single point.”
“On hard and grass it’s so much more about zero to four-ball rallies. But on clay, you have to be committed to being fine with the rally going, five, six, seven balls."
The American had a terrific 2019 season, which saw her win two titles in Charleston and Cincinnati. However, she has racked up a disappointing record since, going 8-5 in 2020 and now sits with two wins out of five matches in 2021. Nonetheless, this hasn't dampened her spirit, as she aims to produce a positive record at the Volvo Car Open which runs from April 5-11.
“I just have to get out there and try to play to the best of my ability every time I’m out on the court,” she said. “I am obviously searching for some momentum, but that can come quickly in tennis. So just staying positive and working toward getting some matches under my belt.”