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January 14, 2008

Alicia Molik


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Good to get through a tough one?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I think it was a good match first up. Obviously, both sets were very close, and I had that Love-3 score line early in the first set, which didn't worry me too much, which I think is a good sign. I think I only missed a few balls by a few inches.
I mean, she jump-started me. That was one of my goals today, to come out swinging, come out very quick out of the box, which I did. I had a few game points and then I had a few breakpoints, as well.
But I was pretty happy with the way that match went. Happy with the way I think I was advancing forward to the net. I think it's something I'd have to continue to do the next match.

Q. Would have been very tempting to panic in that sort of situation, starting, you know, a bit sluggishly, but you didn't. Any reason particularly for that, any sort of reason you feel you were in control of the situation?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I felt very comfortable. I don't think it was a sluggish start, I just don't think the score line was in my favor. I felt very comfortable with the way I was hitting the ball, even though I was at a Love-3 deficit there early in the first set.
I did have a sense of calmness I think right throughout both sets. Even when we were approaching that first-set tiebreak, at no point did I ever feel under the pump. I think I was very clear with my game plan and very clear with the way I wanted to play. And I was, I think, prepared to lose that breaker, being aggressive and being attacking.
But I was fortunate that it went my way, I think.

Q. Did you feel yourself that you lifted sort of midway through that second set? You seemed to play with a bit more purpose during that period. You had a string there of about 14 points in a row.
ALICIA MOLIK: In the second set?

Q. Yeah.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I felt there were a couple of points where she was pushing me, I was defending. I was sort of scrapping at the back of the court, and I felt like I gave a bit of court away. So I was pretty tough on myself. And what I said to myself was I had to move up into the court and play a little bit quicker, take her time away.
I think a big advantage for me today was that I was able to get a high percentage of first serves in, more so I think in the first set. And I think that was more or less the defining factor. So once I picked up on that in the second set, I felt like I was running away with it.
Another thing I focused on was running around a few more forehands, hitting a few more down the line. I think I wrong-footed her a lot tonight.

Q. Is that something Nicole has asked you to do or is it something you worked out?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, it's something we're always working on, to use my forehand each and every way. But sometimes I love to play in a pattern, but I think it's important for myself to keep my opponent guessing, and I felt like I did that well today. I don't think she could really pick it towards the end.

Q. Casting ahead, how do you feel going in now, next opponent?
ALICIA MOLIK: Good. I feel good that not only was it a two-set win, but I feel pretty good coming out of a very tight match like that today against Kanepi. And that certainly raises my spirits and gives me a lot of confidence going into the match against Nicole Vaidisova. I think she'll return very similarly to Kanepi today.
There's a few things I'm going to focus on tomorrow. But I'm excited about it, because I think I'm in with a real shot.

Q. Coming into the tournament, knowing where you've been, where you're coming from, did you sort of set a goal for yourself as to how far you expected would be a pass mark for you?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I didn't. I didn't three years ago, and I didn't four and five years ago.
But what I can say is that I believe that I have the game to, again, put up a great fight against Nicole Vaidisova. I know I'm going to get chances; it's just what I do with those chances I think that will really decide whether I win or not in two days' time.

Q. What about for the year ahead? Do you have any sort of goals set as to what you want to do for the year?
ALICIA MOLIK: Beijing is a big goal for me. That's probably the No. 1 thing on my list at this point in time, not just to make the team, but I want to really perform well there. Athens was the highlight of my career, playing in the Olympics there. So I really want to be in great form by the time Beijing comes around. That's thinking a lot of months ahead, but that's definitely something on my list of priorities this year.

Q. You trained with other sports people. Is that part of the reason why you have good relationships with others, see what price they put on it?
ALICIA MOLIK: In the Athens Olympics, I won a bronze medal. It was the highlight of my whole entire career, regardless of all the results that I have had. It was the most emotional that I've ever felt after a tennis tournament or after winning a match.
So I think the reason for that is that I'm playing for my country, I'm playing with fellow teammates, not just in tennis, but other sports. And, you know, that's something that I miss and that I crave. Playing tennis, we don't often get to play in a team environment, live in a team environment. So that's the wonderful thing about the Olympics. And I have the opportunity to support other athletes, as well. I love that. I love sport.

Q. What do you do tomorrow?
ALICIA MOLIK: Tomorrow, obviously, sleep in until whenever I can. But Nicole and I have discussed what we'd like to do on the court tomorrow, moving forward, looking ahead to my match with Nicole Vaidisova. And, of course, tomorrow I will do a pool recovery session, bit of fitness with Simon, my trainer, as well. To work intensely for a short period of time so I'm really ready to go against Vaidisova on Wednesday. I think Nicole Pratt is playing tomorrow. She's a good friend of mine, so I'll check the schedule now and come and watch her play, as well.

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