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January 23, 2004

Nicole Pratt


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Nicole, please.

Q. What was the injury?

NICOLE PRATT: Just strained my abductor. Just a slight strain. I was a little bit twingy out on the court. I had it wrapped just as a precaution, you know, not to do any more damage.

Q. Did it have much impact on your play in the third? Did you feel it?

NICOLE PRATT: I mean, I felt it all through the second set. You know, it was something that was there the whole time during sort of towards the end of the first set. But, you know, it's something that, you know, you just deal with. It's the third round of the Australian Open. I knew it was there, but it certainly -- you know, probably didn't slow me -- it slowed me down a little bit in the third. I felt like in the second, I was feeling it, but I was still sort of relatively comfortable. But, yeah, overall, it's not an excuse at all.

Q. Brad Gilbert has been reported saying that he didn't believe the world's No. 1 woman would beat a thousand of the best men in the world. Do you think those sorts of comments are helpful for women's tennis?

NICOLE PRATT: Oh, I don't think -- no, I don't think they're helpful. You know, you don't know if the No. 1 player in the world would beat the thousandth ranked man in the world. Like you said, it just depends on the match-ups. You know, it's a different game. Men's and women's tennis is a completely different game. In essence, sometimes it's a different sport. I don't really actually have any comment on that really.

Q. These sorts of things tend to come up from time to time. Why do you think men need to raise those issues, do you think?

NICOLE PRATT: I actually can't tell you. I think it's probably an off-the-cuff remark. You know, I guess it's up to you guys if you want to take it seriously.

Q. Did she raise her game in the third set? She cut down a lot of unforced errors. Did you feel it?

NICOLE PRATT: Yeah, she pretty much did what she did towards the end of the first set. I think she raised it a notch. A little unlucky not to get the game at 5-1, I felt. But, you know, a player like that, if you let her get a lead, she'll take it and the confidence grows. She just gets better and better. A little disappointed not to get the game at 3-1 in the third set, had a couple of game points there, which certainly, you know, would have made a little bit of a difference. As soon as she got the 4-1 lead, it's "all systems go." You know, that's what quality players do; and she's a quality player.

Q. Were you aware she had a problem with the left wrist?

NICOLE PRATT: No, not at all.

Q. Which obviously would have affected her on the backhand side?

NICOLE PRATT: I don't know, she was hitting the ball pretty hard off both wings. No, I didn't see any problem at all.

Q. What do you think the difference is essentially between her ranking, 11, and you at 52?

NICOLE PRATT: Well, I think not a lot at this point in actually the style of game, you know, that I'm trying to play more and more of week in, week out. What she does is play week in and week out like that, at that level. You know, she's obviously very consistent. She's had some big wins against, you know, top players. You know, a few wins here and there, I had a couple of matches end of last year that, you know, I didn't win that easily could have had me ranked, you know, Top 30 in the world. So, you know, that's what I'm trying to achieve this year. I really don't think I'm that far off at all.

Q. Given the closeness of it, do you categorize it as a missed opportunity or a learning experience? Where do you put it?

NICOLE PRATT: I'm actually really, really encouraged. I think I made some really big steps today compared to the match I played against her in Sydney. You know, I think that match was actually really helpful coming into Australian Open because ever since then, I've -- Noel and I have talked about with me playing with the hand brake on, and pretty much after that match, it was like, "Let's get rid of the hand brake and let's see what you can actually do." I think I've proven that, that I can do a lot of good things. And that's just a continuation of the direction that I'm going. No, not at all, I don't see it as a missed opportunity. I think it's really positive. Today's match is actually really positive.

Q. 'Releasing the hand brake,' is that to be more aggressive?

NICOLE PRATT: Yeah, more aggressive and just trust my shots, trust my technique. I think I've been a player in the past that's, you know, kind of guided the ball around, you know, steered it here and steered it there. But, you know, you can't play that style of game anymore against these girls that hit the ball hard. So, yeah, I've taken the hand brake off and I'm going for my shots and I'm prepared to, you know, hit winners. But with hitting winners, you're going to make some errors, and that's okay. But that's the direction I'm going.

Q. What is the expectation with the injury? How much tennis will you have to miss? Any?

NICOLE PRATT: No, none at all. I mean, it's just a slight strain. It's there. But, you know, it's something every tennis player has played with at some stage. You know, I'll just get some physio today. I've got some doubles, you know, the rest of the tournament. So should be fine for that.

End of FastScripts….

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