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January 16, 2008

Alicia Molik



Q. How do you feel about that?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, not too happy, but Nicole played great. She served out of a tree today, not just first serves but second serves as well. I guess that's the best serve I've played against in the last six to nine months out of all the tournaments I've played.
She got a lot of free points off of herself, a lot of aces, as well. I was playing catchup basically from the first set. I felt like I got myself nicely into the second set. She's a quality opponent, so you give someone a good scoreline to run away with, and she's too good not to. She took advantage that have.
I feel ready to half redeem myself in the doubles in about an hour.

Q. Are you happy with your own serve?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, that was a letdown for me today, definitely. I think there was one game where I served two or three double faults on game point. So, yeah, I definitely wasn't feeling as good about it as the other night.
Nicole returns very well, so I definitely felt pressure from her. But in saying that, you know, I have a good enough serve for it to be above today's standard. But obviously I did struggle with it today. And second serve particularly I don't think I was getting much bounce off the court.

Q. Could you be optimistic about the rest of the year, just on one performance, bad performance?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I think I can, because I think I'm very good at getting over things and moving forward, yeah.

Q. You said something about your second serve. You've got a big kick serve. Is that something you've noticed the entire summer?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, just today. I think it was a bit breezier. The conditions were slightly cooler, so obviously things -- conditions obviously don't assist my height off the court and a lot of bounce.
But generally I'm very good at getting movement off my serve, but I think my ball toss was a little low today. Obviously she's a great returner, so I just think my motion was a little bit quicker than normal.

Q. Where do you think your game's at overall? What does this match tell you about where your game is at?
ALICIA MOLIK: Well, against an opponent like Nicole Vaidisova today it was up to scratch. There was points from my last match that I thought I'd improved on a lot I guess from four, five, six months ago. Although that's difficult to say, but obviously not good enough today.

Q. Where are you percentage-wise compared to where you were three years ago? 75 percent? 80 percent?
ALICIA MOLIK: That's a tough thing to ask, as well. Three, four things ago, if that's what you're equating it to, I made quarters here last year. This year it's second round. I don't know how you equate a percentage to that.
I've answered this question many times before, and I guess my matches are very up and down. My sets are very up and down. Certainly played some great tennis and then some loose points and double faults. That's something that I'm trying to, I guess, get out of my game a little bit. Because against an opponent like Nicole you don't have a chance to play some loose points, you don't have the chance to double fault.
Yeah, the girls are too good now, and certainly she's too much of a quality opponent for me to be able to get away with that.

Q. The crowd behind you is dominating the headlines again. Is that hurting the Open's reputation internationally, and do you think against the tennis community?
ALICIA MOLIK: Absolutely not. No, I don't think so. I think we have some of the best supporters in the Australian Open. Everyone comes out in their respective country's colors. I had a great support crew there at my match today. That's why we love the Australian Open, because it attracts, I think, a varied group from around the world. That's why it's so interesting and exciting.

Q. Are you proud of your Polish roots?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, of course.

Q. You talk about how good the girls are. Do you feel the time you were off the tour they've leapt ahead and you're kind of trying to play catch up?
ALICIA MOLIK: I don't think so. I'm not quite sure the game's leapt ahead that much in the last three or four years. But certainly one thing I notice is many of the girls now, the younger generation coming through, particularly from the Eastern Bloc and the Russians, they all play a very similar game style.
So, you know, they're hard hitters, aggressive players, and a lot of them hit the same flat balls, same trajectory of balls. You're not seeing a varying style of tennis, but they're all becoming increasingly good at that one game style, that aggressive baseline tennis.

Q. Does that in some way make it easier, learning how to play one or how to play all?
ALICIA MOLIK: They're not all like that, but I'd say the majority are. But when you play a lot of the top girls you know exactly what you're coming up against, unless you play someone like a Mauresmo or Henin that can vary the ball and vary the spin. Kuznetsova also you'd have to throw in that mix.
But generally I think a lot of the girls hit quite a similar ball.

Q. What are your thoughts on Nicole Pratt's retirement announcement?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, well, she's probably had one of the most decorated careers I think out of anyone. I don't think purely because of results, but I think because of the work and the dedication, the hours, her professionalism. Everything Nicole has ever done was I guess for the betterment of her tennis.
I actually went out and watched her match yesterday. Sat out in the stands. And although she didn't win, she said thanks for watching, but I just said it was a pleasure. She's a great friend of mine, and she's got every ounce of I think talent out of herself which I think is really commendable.
So she can look back I guess on her career and know she's done everything in her power to be very successful at this game of tennis. I think her life and tennis for Pratty is a bit of a movie script if you look at where she came from, how she had to find practice partners growing up.
Obviously we share a lot of stories at Fed Cup trips, and it's quite amazing how I guess she's reached the pinnacle of a professional sport like tennis. I think it's a credit and testament to her as a character.

Q. Did you have an inkling she was finishing up? Is that why you went out?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, yeah, I had an inkling. And obviously we're good friends so we chat and discuss things. So I knew for a while now that Nicole has been contemplating I guess the future, but I just didn't know at what point in time she'd be thinking about a different career.

Q. Is this one of the most disappointing losses for a long time? You set yourself for a big summer and just to go out so early.
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I've had a lot of disappointing losses. It's the nature of sport. It is disappointing. I'm not happy with my performance today. I lost, but like I said, it's sport, it's tennis.
I think I'm good enough to get over it, good enough to get through it, and good enough to I guess want to get out on the practice court and want to work on the areas that I still need to work on. As simple as that. Anyone else?

Q. Do you feel like it's a do-or-die year for you?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, my career has never been do or die in the past, so I don't feel that way about it now. Absolutely not.

Q. So you definitely would be looking to continue for as long as you feel your tennis is at this level?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, absolutely. I thought I'd, you know, push into the 40s -- no, I'm just joking. (laughter.)
Look, of course. I don't know how to answer your question, but, yeah, I guess I'm always looking to get I think the most out of myself and the best out of myself.
I'm always looking for new challenges. So despite today I guess being disappointing, I look forward to the next time that I play Vaidisova. Hopefully I can improve on today's performance or today's scoreline.

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