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January 18, 2011

Alicia Molik


A. MOLIK/R. Vinci
1-6, 6-3, 8-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you fight your way out of that one?
ALICIA MOLIK: Look, after the first set, I knew it was very scratchy. I had no doubt I'd get to a third set. I found myself in the worst position of the two. She was 4-2 up in the third set. I've played so many matches now, I'm not afraid of losing. I made a point to go out and win the third set.
I mean, it's very natural for a lot of people to tighten up in third sets when it comes to the crunch. I just set myself no alternative than to go out and try and execute and win the match.
I was prepared to lose in that way. But it forced me to play the right shots, be aggressive, and do all of that at the right time.

Q. Is there a certain liberation in being able to swing for the lines and see what happens?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I think you produce -- sometimes I certainly produce my best tennis when I need to. You know, I would love for that to carry on through the first two sets. But, uhm, I'm not sure exactly what kicks in. But my fifth gear kicks in when I most need it. And I most needed it when I was 4-2 down and again in the last couple games of the match.
It's amazing what you can do when there isn't an alternative. You have to go for it. You have to go for the lines. You have to play big shots. You have to serve big. I almost prefer that position.
But I was really pleased today with the way I won that match in the end. I don't feel like she gave it to me; I feel like I won it off my racquet. So that's a really pleasing thing.

Q. How do you change that to try to get it in the first half dozen games?
ALICIA MOLIK: That's the million-dollar question. We warmed up. It was cooler conditions like it is now. Start of our match, it was sunny, quite warm, balls just seemed to be shooting. I didn't really find a good rhythm.
It took quite a while for me to kick start that. Thankfully I did it in the second set. But, uhm, look, it's just a matter of getting used to the conditions. So, uhm, it's great that tennis is best-of-three, for the guys best-of-five. There is time to find form and step up a few gears.

Q. You've done the wild card thing, you've done the playoff, you've done the country stuff, how rewarding for you.
ALICIA MOLIK: It's fantastic. In front of my home crowd, too. The crowd were getting pretty electric. They were pretty eager between first and second serves, calling out, yelling out. But I think I focused pretty well today, didn't let anything distract me too much.
You really feed off of it. God, I really felt it out there. It's quite an amazing feeling, especially in the later stages of a match when fatigue can set in, I felt like she dropped her level a bit. It just gave me a heap more energy.

Q. No distraction having the match moved?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. Just a slight adjustment. Margaret Court I was ready for. The WTA came and told me there was a good chance we would be shifted to Rod Laver. Again, it's just refocusing on the size of the court. Obviously the crowd, knowing the back stops are a lot longer. For me it was about bringing my focus down to narrow myself between the lines of the court. Sometimes you can make the mistake of using too much of the dark blue when you play on the larger court. That was something I had a quiet moment in the locker room and thought about.
I wouldn't have it any other way, playing a long third set like today in a stadium like Rod Laver Arena. It was fantastic.

Q. Similar preparation, late-night commentary before the games?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I haven't done any commentary. No, I play doubles tomorrow followed by singles the following day. So just very much focusing on my playing and preparation. Doubles tomorrow I'm very excited about. I love playing doubles. I'm playing with Sophie Ferguson. I'm looking forward to a great day at the office as well.

Q. You played so many years, how much of today was drawing on your experience?
ALICIA MOLIK: Look, in the third set particularly, I remember a few key matches that I played four, five years ago where I stepped up to the plate. I played big tennis. I executed. I played aggressive. So that's something that I did think about late in the third set.
Again, I'm too old now to be afraid of losing. That really doesn't come into the equation. So it's not about losing. It's a matter of finding the gear to win a match. Against the best players, you need to do that. If I was playing any player in the top 10, no one gives matches away these days. None of the girls hope to win. You really have to get out there and win it yourself. So I was proud I did that today.

Q. No thoughts this is going to be your last appearance here, especially given that performance?
ALICIA MOLIK: Gosh, not after today, no. I enjoyed the win today. I'm enjoying it right now. Had a few quick words with my coach. He said, Jump on the bike. Just enjoy tonight. We'll chat about it tomorrow.
It's a great finish to a good day at the office for me.

Q. What you said about thinking back to other big matches. Did the Venus Williams come into your mind?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, that's what I thought about, definitely. Look, only for a split second, for a second or two. But, uhm, I think it's very important to draw on positive thoughts that you've had in the past. I used that to my advantage today.

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