Keys' & Fratangelo's Memorable US Open Experience
Bjorn Fratangelo and Madison Keys are one of few professional tennis couples. For years — even before they began dating four years ago — Fratangelo has asked Keys to play mixed doubles together. On Saturday afternoon at the US Open, they finally made their team debut.
“He finally wore me down,” Keys said, cracking a laugh. “I was always just saying I was going to be so nervous and I was going to have to try so hard, but he finally said, ‘We’ll just have some fun.’ I’m very happy that we did it.”
Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner and Australian Ellen Perez beat the Americans 6-4, 6-3, but it was an enjoyable experience for Fratangelo and Keys in front of their home crowd.
“Of all the memories you have of all the matches, it’s obviously the people you are with who make those moments,” Keys said. “To be able to have a moment on court together I think is definitely something that is going to stick in my mind.”
Keys lived in Boca Raton, Florida from the age of 10, and Fratangelo moved there when he turned pro before the start of 2013. The pair trained at the same facility, and they were part of a group of friends that was close.
Fratangelo later moved to Orlando, and Keys moved there a month later. They would live in the same apartment complex for a bit and began hanging out more. In 2017, they began dating. Fratangelo has always been on Keys’ case to play mixed together.
“We had to do it once. If we never do it again, fine. I would like to, though,” Fratangelo said. “It was a lot of fun, but it’s no secret that maybe this year for her has been a bit of a struggle. [It was] just to have some fun on court with me and play and try to get a win and if not, just have an hour of laughs and fun. It’s good for everybody.”
Keys was quick to say that she deferred on strategy to Fratangelo.
“He was kind of just telling me what to do and I was doing whatever he told me,” Keys said. “He was the boss.”
“I’m a little more of a strategist out there. I don’t have her raw power and I’m 5’11, 175 [pounds],” Fratangelo added. “I need to think my way through things. She kept asking me, ‘Where am I serving? What am I doing?’ I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go T and I go or I stay.’”
Neither ruled out playing together in the future. Keys now knows what to expect.
“Now I think I can maybe not be as nervous next time,” Keys said. “I was just incredibly nervous for some reason. I think it’s just because I wanted to win for myself, but I also wanted to win for him.”
Win or lose, it was a moment the Americans will not soon forget. Love in tennis means zero, but it meant so much more for this team on Court 5.
“I think just to play with someone who you love and who you care about the most [is special],” Fratangelo said. “I had a lot of fun out there with her. We were joking a lot on the changeovers. I thought we could have done pretty well, but we ran into a pretty good duo today. They played well, and that’s it. Maybe we’ll play again next year.”