Keys & Co. enjoyed the night's signature drink, dubbed the "MarKEYni." Think of these 60-to 90-minute Zoom conferences as a tennis-centric Watch What Happens Live, with the group's founder and moderator, Jon Guerrica, in the proverbial seat of Andy Cohen.
"I thought to myself, tennis fans are so desperate for content right now," says Guerrica, a New Yorker who heads to the US Open in Flushing a few times each fall. "So why not go out on a limb and try to chat with some of our favorite players, using this hiatus to have them enjoy time with their super-fans? I'm so grateful that they've come on and shared their stories and made such a cool connection with us."
When times were normal, a batch of about 16 of these gents commonly confer over group text threads during each calendar year's tournament schedule, each making daily WTA-match predictions. There is no betting, though the majors and events like Indian Wells and Miami raise the stakes for the friendly fantasy league that provides bragging rights in its year-over-year rankings updated by the group's resident Microsoft Excel wizard.
First rule of this group's tennis-trivia nights with players: What's discussed stays within the confines of each chat, bound to that time and (virtual) place for those who participated. Retired and current pros including Rennae Stubbs, Alexandra Stevenson, and more have guested to date. More current and former pros are in queue to verbally volley with this coterie of racquet-wielding pals.
On this night, the group hinged on Keys' highly entertaining words, relishing in her shares of on-and-off-court remembrances and all the amusing minutiae of life on tour.
Of note, though she's just 25, Keys turned pro in 2009—a solid 11 years back. This serves as further proof that nothing passes as quickly as the future. And the world's millions of tennis enthusiasts hope the same will be true of this global pandemic.