Jennifer Brady admits she did not think she had a chance of making the Australian Open final during — and even before — her 14-day hard quarantine period prior to the tournament.
- Brady was the only player in the women’s draw who went through hard quarantine to reach the second week of the Australian Open
- The American beat Karolína Muchová in three sets to qualify for her first final at a major
- She will play Naomi Osaka in the tournament decider
The 22nd-seeded Brady will meet Naomi Osaka in Saturday night’s final after beating Karolína Muchová 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the last four.
She was one of 72 tennis players placed under a strict hotel lockdown in Melbourne last month after being on a flight with a passenger who tested positive to COVID-19 after arriving in Australia.
The American was the only player in the women’s draw who went through hard quarantine to reach the second week of the Australian Open.
“Even before quarantine, I didn’t think I would be where I am right now, sitting at this podium answering your question,” Brady told her post-match media conference at Melbourne Park.
Brady, as with all players who went through hard quarantine, could not leave her hotel room for practice sessions on court.
She was forced to keep fit by training inside her room during the 14 days of isolation, using exercise equipment provided by Tennis Australia.
Several players in the women’s and men’s draws cited the lockdown conditions among the reasons they could not prepare properly for the Australian Open, with Tennys Sandgren describing his build-up as a “joke”.
Brady said maintaining an upbeat attitude was the key for her getting through hard quarantine.
“I think it was more just trying to stay positive and know that there are worse things out there than being in a [hotel] room,” she said.
Brady converted on her fifth match point against Muchová to advance to the final.
In a marathon final game, Muchová had three break points on Brady’s serve but the 25-year-old eventually held to seal the deal.
“I was just so nervous,” said Brady, who will contest her first major final on Saturday night.
“Then I would say I started rambling, mumbling on and on … it was just point by point, point by point, and eventually I was able to close it out.”
Osaka progressed to the final after beating seven-time champion Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4.
She played Brady in the US Open semi-finals last year, with the Japanese star winning in three sets to reach the final, where she defeated Victoria Azarenka.
Brady said she could take positives from her performance against Osaka in New York but would not be reflecting too much on that match ahead of Saturday night.
“I also don’t want to compare matches or compare performances and try to replicate that, because every match is different,” she said.