Madison Keys, 26, said seeing others succeed last year while she was struggling with her results put her in a bad place. Keys, who started her 2021 season in March, finished the year with just 11 wins. Keys especially struggled in the second part of the season as she was on a six-match losing streak before winning her first round match at the Indian Wells Masters in October.
It was Keys' first win in three months. “I felt like I just had this pressure on me to almost catch up to everyone else,” Keys said when reflecting on her 2021, as quoted on the Roland Garros website.. “Because I felt like everyone else had had such a good year and I just kept comparing myself to everyone else and their success and all of that and it just felt like the deeper I got into the season, the more pressure I was putting on myself and started just getting way too focused on winning and losing and ranking and this and that and losing points and all of that”.
Keys dealt with a bad anxiety
“I don't really thrive when my entire life becomes about tennis,” Keys explained. “I start thinking about it too much. It just starts becoming a little bit overwhelming for me.
Not being able to kind of get out, go for walks, separate myself from the tournament a little bit, got really difficult. Then it kind of spiralled from there. It just felt like it was just another brick on top of another brick.
Everything got a little bit heavier and heavier and harder to deal with. “I was just at a very high anxiety level all of the time. I wasn't sleeping as well. It just felt like there was literally a weight on my chest just because I became so focused and obsessed with it that I wasn't enjoying really anything because it's all that I was thinking about”.
After a challenging 2021, Keys has made a positive to 2022 as Keys won the Adelaide 2 title and made the Australian Open semifinal.