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January 18, 2007

Alicia Molik


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. For a long time she didn't look like she was going to let you into that match. What turned it for you?
ALICIA MOLIK: I don't think it was just a matter of her not letting me into the match. I think if you look at probably the first three or four games, I had a lot of opportunities, actually had two or three breaks points, had a couple of sitter forehands which I should have converted. So I feel like I really let her run away with that first set.
And I knew things could really only get better. I actually didn't feel too bad after the first set. I knew what I need today get going, my serve, get my forehand working. Then in the end I felt like she didn't see any holes, she pressed and pressed and eventually she committed a lot more errors in the end than myself.

Q. You seemed to play a lot more conservatively than normal for the last two sets. Was it a matter of letting her make the mistakes?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, she was hitting pretty big and I was tempting her into, I guess, committing errors. But I felt like I moved a lot better and I didn't really have to do too much. I just tried to keep my game simple, step it up when I needed to, and fall back when I needed to.
In the end maybe that became a little bit too much for her. She pressed and pressed and she didn't really change her game plan at all. But I felt like she was getting a little bit frustrated by my slice. I started keeping it really low. It was dropping short, as well, which she didn't like. I tried to draw her into net a bit. Probably loosened my forehand up a lot more in the second and third sets.
I guess tactically they were the differences.

Q. Was it a matter of getting used to her game? He hadn't played her before.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, not really because as I mentioned, I had a lot of opportunities in the first three or four games. If I had converted those, it would have been a different story. It would have been 3-love, 3-1 my way. She held the first game. I probably should have been a break up in hindsight.

Q. Do you feel like your game is in good shape possibly heading into a second week?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. Saturday is almost the second week, so I'm almost there. But today, like I said, conditions were tougher in the indoors. I think the second week hopefully it warms up and we'll be playing a lot more matches outside.
But I really feel like, yeah, my game is there. I certainly proved it today. It's not always easy to come out after a 6 -1 first set loss and bounce back from that.
But it didn't really trouble me too much. I knew the areas I needed to improve, and I've hit enough balls in the last couple weeks to have confidence in myself to be able to produce, and I felt like I really did that.

Q. So you wouldn't be too concerned if it heated up next week?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I think I'd like that. I mean, I've been practicing at Melbourne Park for the last two or three months, and there's been a lot of 35, 38-degree days. I'm very used to the windy conditions, as well.
I mean, those factors definitely wouldn't, I guess, alter my game or my chances. I feel like I'm sitting in a really good position right now.

Q. How long have you been living in Melbourne for and has that had an impact on your Open preparation?
ALICIA MOLIK: Not really. I've been here five years, about five, five and a half years.

Q. South Yarra?
ALICIA MOLIK: I sort of move around a bit (laughter), but yeah.

Q. How has Paul helped you?
ALICIA MOLIK: Paul has, I think, firstly really made me enjoy the game a lot. It's always tough coming back from injury. And I have to say that he is probably if not the most upbeat, positive person that I've really ever come across. I think he believes in me as much as I believe in him. He was a great player, and he has so much good advice for me.
But most importantly, he knows exactly what I am feeling on the court, what I'm going through. And no matter what I do, no matter what I achieve or whether I have a good day at practice or a bad day, he only ever has positive things to say. I mean, that -- especially as a coach, that's in his job, but it's a pretty amazing thing. I only ever hear positive comments, positive reinforcement, and when you're coming back, that's a really important things.
Killer brings that to me. We have a lot of lighthearted moments, and he's a fantastic person to travel with. He's very caring. We're very good friends. And that's important, also, working-coaching relationship. We spend so many hours together. I think we really complement each other, other personalities do definitely.

Q. How are you doing with the fact that people want so badly for you to do so well here?
ALICIA MOLIK: God, I wanted to do well, too. I wasn't trying to lose the first set. I wanted desperately to win the first set, too - but as much for myself as everyone out there.
But I think it's important to do things not necessarily at my own pace but in my own time. And if that takes me a set to warm up, then to get the win, then that's what I need to do.
But the crowd definitely helped today. They were putting in some pretty hard work out there. And there's no doubt that that helps you along when you're down a little bit. After the first set, you have time to collect your thoughts. And the crowd are fantastic today, amazing.

Q. You spoke a little bit about your movement, how you felt like you were moving better in the second and third sets. Do you feel like you're moving better now than you were two or three years ago? How does it compare? Are you fitter now?
ALICIA MOLIK: I think I'm feeling just as good as I was then. Yeah, movement, clearly today, she didn't see many holes. She wasn't able to hit many winners. I seemed to get my racket on just about every ball. That's always an indication. But when I am moving well and my retrieving game is on song, then that gives me an opportunity to really get aggressive at the same time. Girls don't see many holes, and they start pressing a little bit too much, which Kanepi did today. But that's something that I always need to work on. I'm not the quickest person on the planet, I'll admit that. So footwork and working on my movement is always on probably the top of the priority list for me.
And if I am moving well, it gives me a chance to get into position to use my big shots, use my big forehand and my serve and work my game around that.

Q. It just seems like two, three, six months into the comeback, is it that movement, the physical side of things, harder than the mental side in terms of coming back?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I don't think so. It's hard to gauge what is the toughest thing about coming back. But I'd have to say it's probably getting the matches. You get confidence from matches. It's difficult to draw confidence from other areas. So winning matches is where you get your confidence from.
Over the course of the last month, that's obviously why I'm feeling this good. That's why I'm moving that well. And then last year, that was my comeback year, I didn't have a great season. I didn't win many matches. So you feel like you're always grappling at straws and you never quite feel just right.

Q. A fourth-round match with Sam Stosur, how would you feel about that?
ALICIA MOLIK: It would be great, two Australians playing. First things first. My opponents haven't even finished their match yet. Like last match off, I'll concentrate on the next one. Today was hard enough, so I think I really have to buckle down for my next match.

Q. Petrova, a top ten player at the Hopman Cup, may have to play Patty Schnyder next, another top ten player...
ALICIA MOLIK: Well, I felt in the Hopman Cup against Nadia I played a really solid match. And walking out there I felt like I should have beaten her because of the tennis that I've been playing and the practice sets that I've had of late.
But seeing it was Nadia's first match of the season, too, it's always a difficult one to gauge yourself. Look, I've played plenty of top ten players before. I've been there myself.
You know, you've got to expect the highest quality tennis, but I can't underestimate any of them. But I feel like give me any player in the top ten and I think I can put up a pretty good fight and possibly get myself in a couple winning positions against a few of them, definitely.

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