When Jennifer Brady arrived at match point for the first time on Sunday in Lexington, she wasted little time in reaching the finish line. Though it would have been understandable to see nerves creep in, given the weight of the moment for the 25-year-old, Brady's breakthrough week was perfectly summed up with a well-constructed point that ended with her having the final word: a forehand winner against Jil Teichmann.
By becoming the newest player to step into the WTA winner's circle, Brady cracked the Top 40 for the first time. The American, who relinquished her serve just three times over five matches at the Top Seed Open, will be seeded at the US Open (with help from several players withdrawing due to COVID-19 concerns).
Brady spoke with TENNIS.com about her match point reaction, whether twin sister Jessica followed the run, the strength her serve provides on court, and the struggle of commemorating the moment on Instagram.
Jennifer Brady, WTA singles champion. Has a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Yeah, I’ll take it (laughter).
You really seemed to play your first match point to win, which can often be difficult for someone trying to close with a new achievement on the line. Every groundstroke was landing deep to Jil's backhand side. Was that inside-out forehand the trigger point you were hoping to get?
I wasn’t expecting a winner, to be honest. I’m very happy it was a winner. I definitely was looking to change direction and hope for a short ball.
And about that, “Come On!” Definitely had a Lleyton Hewitt feel to it. Was that something you ever practiced growing up having idolized him? How would you rate your reaction in the moment?
I don’t know what I did, but I’m not looking forward to seeing what I did. Last night I was like, ‘OK, I hope I don’t do something stupid or hope I look somewhat decent if I win.’
Want to ask about the twin connection. Is Jessica the type to follow big moments like this, or does she veer in the, ‘too nervous to watch, I’ll find out later’ category?
She just texted me right before I came in here and was like, ‘Good job.’ She’s studying, she’s in med school and super busy. She follows along but is not one to get nervous. She’s happy for me whether I win or lose.
What is she studying in med school, out of curiosity?
She wants to do family practice. She just passed her third year, so she’s starting her fourth year.
You had so many stellar sets of tennis to pick from this week. But if you had to select just one, which is the best representative of your brand of tennis, and why?
I would say my match against Marie Bouzkova, either first or second set. I played the same throughout the whole match. I felt like that match was something I came out and I knew what I had to do to win. I executed it perfectly. I served really well, returned really well. I felt like I couldn’t miss a ball, to be honest. That match stuck out for me the most.
Can you touch on the power you have as a player when your serve is on, as it really is a weapon that gives you the opportunity to control the pulse of the match? The WTA tends to have a higher percentage of games where players are broken, so it can give someone like you a huge advantage when you’re able to execute on that front.
When I’m able to serve well, it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent to serve well. They have to think about if I’m serving well, they have to be able to hold their serve. A lot of players on the WTA return really well, but some don’t serve that great. So they also rely on their return, and if they’re not able to break serve, they can feel a bit more pressure on their service games. Some can throw in a double fault here or there, make a few loose points, and that’s something I look to take advantage of.
In your presser, you talked about how you’re more of the easy-going type, whereas your coach is very structured. Did you mix up the meal plays all week, or stick to that German structure Michael has brought to your routine?
He likes to do dinner. In the hotel, we were eating downstairs. I would either order from the hotel or do delivery. But then towards the end of the week, I was getting kind of tired and I was like, ‘I’m just going to eat in my room and do delivery.’ I felt bad. He wanted to eat together you could tell, but at the same time, he was totally fine with it. He likes to plan: like OK, what time, then plan for the next day and talk about it. So he’s a big planner. I’m lucky that he’s like that.
Speaking of planning: when it comes to New York, are you driving or flying? And your first Grand Slam seeding will come at your home major. Pretty good cherry on top to the week, isn’t it?
That will be awesome. I’m really, really excited about that. We’re going to drive, probably leave the hotel at 5 a.m. We have an 8 a.m. flight from Cincinnati, so it’s a direct flight to LaGuardia. We get in around 10 a.m., will go to the hotel and do our testing, and quarantine there until we get our results.
Throughout the years, it’s been apparent how creative you can be in responding to your peers on Instagram. Have you thought about what you’re going to throw on the ’Gram in celebration of your first title?
No, can you help me out with a caption?
I don’t know about me. I’m a little too old to be a cool kid.
I’m better at trolling, than posting my own photos. I’m more of a troll.
I live for the trolling.
It will be boring. (smiling)