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January 19, 2004

Nicole Pratt


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty tough opponent first up. Must be delighted to fight your way through it?

NICOLE PRATT: Yeah, no, it was definitely obviously a tough draw. Meghann's, I think, 17th seed. Obviously, you don't particularly want to play a seed in the first round. But, you know, I had a job to do and I actually sort of thought I went out there today and did a really good job of what needed to be done.

Q. Start well and then have a bit of a hiccup in the second set, was it difficult to remain positive out there or was it simply what you had to do?

NICOLE PRATT: I was a little disappointed that obviously I didn't close it in the second set. But Meghann lifted her game. She started to serve better, she started to return better. So, you know, I just, you know, knew the game plan I needed to try and, you know, keep to. Obviously, I raised another level in the third set, and so did Meghann. Just got through with the win in the end.

Q. To win such a tight game, things could have gone the other way, must boost your confidence to beat a player of her quality?

NICOLE PRATT: Yeah, it was huge, the game at 4-all. I was down 40-love on her serve, to get back to deuce and take the next couple of points to go 5-4 up. And serving at 5-4, I certainly wasn't gonna let that game slip away after, you know, saving 5-4 in the second set. I didn't get tight. I pretty much kept to what I was doing and, you know, in the end it worked out.

Q. When you come to a tournament like this, you have points to defend, is it something you think about?

NICOLE PRATT: I think you have a goal for the year, like you said. I had a really long sort of six-week preseason, tough preseason to set me up for, you know, all of this next year. Probably what was really key for me is the match I played in Sydney. I think, you know, I lost to Zvonareva pretty easily. It just proved to me if I want to beat the players I need to beat, I really need to step up and raise it to a different level. Ever since that match out on the practice court, I've raised what I've been doing and being more aggressive. I'm just really pleased that that actually came through tonight. I think I had over 30 winners and probably I don't think I've ever played a match with 30 winners. So I'm really pleased from that aspect.

Q. Knocking out a seed in the first round obviously opens up the draw for you as well, a chance to progress?

NICOLE PRATT: Yeah, I pretty much knew I had to beat Meghann, and obviously it did open it up for at least a couple of rounds. But, you know, all the girls are good, like you saw today. There's a lot of seeds falling. Everyone's playing quality tennis and you just got to take it one match at a time.

End of FastScripts….

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