Day 9 diary: Madi the people's champion

 - Reem Abulleil

From Keys' kind moment, to Djokovic's Stan fandom, here is our RG Day 9 diary.

Madison Keys with fans Roland Garros 2019©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

It’s no secret that Madison Keys has a heart of gold.

Her work with Fearlessly Girl to counter bullying, especially cyber-bulling, is a true inspiration.

Right before the start of Roland-Garros, she campaigned for the very first Kinder Girl World Day, which she saw as “an opportunity for all of us to take a meaningful step to fight back against the toxicity of social media by posting about a woman you respect, admire, and want to recognise with a supporting message online,” the American wrote on the WTA website last month. Millions ended up posting lovely messages about women they admire.

On Monday in Paris, Keys once again showed her kinder side when she made sure a young fan ended up with the towel she had thrown to him in the stands, after an older spectator tried to snatch it away. She spotted the situation while she was turning away and returned to them in protest.

Keys later clarified on social media that the young boy did indeed walk away with the towel.

“We had some words after this and luckily I saw it and rectified the situation,” Keys said on Twitter.

Laugh of the day

The ATP stats crew posted this interesting fact about Novak Djokovic on Monday.

“Eighty players have met Djokovic at least four times and only one has a winning record (Andy Roddick 5-4). If Alexander Zverev defeats Djokovic in the Roland-Garros quarter-finals on Wednesday, he will join that elite club with a 3-2 head-to-head record.”

Former world No.1 Andy Roddick took to Twitter to express his pride in that statistic. “I retired in order to preserve this stat :) Couldn’t risk it hahaha,” he joked.

Quotes of the day

“I feel like every slam there's always matches or moments or anything like that. Wawrinka and Tsitsipas yesterday was incredible tennis. And then to see that whole match come down to Stan hitting a passing shot that's just touching -- like, it's things like that make tennis so special.”

- Madison Keys marvels at the madness of tennis.

“I think every aspect of life can be boring at times. But it's also, I think it would be exhausting if it was exciting all of the time. I think we'd all be dead as soon as we got onto the court. I mean, it's life. Yes, we live this amazing life, we get to travel, we get to play matches, we have highs and lows, but we also have to go and practice every single day and do the exact same thing. Sometimes it can get monotonous but it's also part of the routine and part of what gives you confidence when you go on the court.”

- Keys discusses the value in the ‘boring’ side of tennis.

“Stan is a big-match player. He's one of these players that throughout his career just managed to find their best game when it was most needed. He's mentally very strong. I'm not surprised that he's back at his best. I have seen some parts of yesterday's match, especially the end. I mean, both of them were winners. Both of these guys produced some amazing tennis in phenomenal atmosphere and fighting spirit and respect to each other, which is great to see in the end at the net how they embraced each other, which is beautiful. Stan is showing why he's ‘The Man’. He's three-time Grand Slam winner. We cannot forget that. He's a top guy, and he loves to play big matches. It's great to see him back.”

- Novak Djokovic is happy to see Stan Wawrinka back to his best after two knee surgeries.

“I never really saw it as an opportunity to emerge as a female coach, but apparently it became a big hype, which I’m happy about. Because I think a lot of ex-players, a lot of females can see that you don’t have to be a guy to be a coach and I think that’s really nice because that gives you a bit more belief, like, ‘Hey, I really like tennis, maybe I want to stay in it, so maybe I can try it as well because there are more and more female coaches coming along’.”

- Petra Martic’s coach Sandra Zaniewska is hoping she can inspire more female coaches to emerge in the game.

“I know Sakkari, Tom came along somewhere mid-last year and Andy with Svitolina was before me that I know. And yeah it’s great. Even yesterday I read an article on about the coaches under 30, and I said, ‘Hey, just like with the players, all those young players are coming, it’s the same with coaches. The generations, the new faces are coming’. I think that’s great.”

- Zaniewska on the rise of ‘Next Gen coaches’.

Stats of the day

1 – Alexander Zverev’s victory over Fabio Fognini on Monday was his first-ever win over a top-25 player at a Grand Slam (source: Tennis Abstract).

10 – Novak Djokovic’s win over Jan-Lennard Struff saw him advance to the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros for the 10th straight year and set the all-time record for most consecutive last-eight appearances here.

10 – Amanda Anisimova posted her 10th win on clay this season with a straight-sets win over Aliona Bolsova. The 17-year-old is into her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

12 – Unforced errors hit by Djokovic in his straight-sets demolition of Jan-Lennard Struff (he struck just two in the second set). A fairly small figure compared to the 31 winners he unleashed.

15 Years since three American women had last made the Roland-Garros quarter-finals. This year that feat has been matched thanks to Sloane Stephens, Keys and Anisimova reaching the last eight. In 2004, it was Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati.

32 – Winners struck by Anisimova in her 70-minute demolition of Bolsova.

Shot of the day

This outrageous tweener from Dominic Thiem against Gael Monfils in the fourth round on Monday is likely to end up being the shot of the year.