By Jacopo Tezza, Director at Evert Tennis Academy
Impressed, really impressed. The Australian Open just came to an end and I could not be more impressed with the performance that Madison Keys has been able to put up.
Let me say one thing clear, I am not talking about Madison’s tennis; I know Madison’s unique talent very well and I know what she is capable of doing. Where Madison surprised me the most, was her mental toughness and maturity she showed in one of the biggest tennis stages.
During the years, I worked with Madison and even after, Madison’s biggest challenge was how to handle the pressure from the outside: media, sponsors and peers. Tennis was never the issue. She is naturally gifted with incredible talent. Everyone expected her to win all the time, and she was obviously feeling some pressure because of that. Often I have seen Madison alternating great performances to some inexplicable ones. All of Madison’s performances had one thing in common: pressure affected her game.
The Madison I watched closely down in Melbourne is a new player. Much more mature, confident in her game and above all, she looked happy. Her attitude on the court was the usual fighter, but there was an X factor in her game: calmness/confidence. I could see it between the points, I could see it after a bad mistake, how she regrouped, and it was very noticeable the way she handled the big moments of her matches.
This calmness and maturity has by default, brought a new dimension in her game: shots selections. During her run at the Australian Open, Madison has shown to be able to make good choices while playing; relying on her serve when in trouble, building the point from the baseline without rushing shots, and not panicking during the tough moments of the matches.