January 24, 2005
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, A. MOLIK/V. Williams 7-5, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Alicia will be in the Top 10 following this victory. That will make her the first Australian-born woman since Wendy Turnbull 20 years ago, when the new rankings come out next Monday. First question for Alicia, please.
Q. Doesn't feel much better than that, does it, out there tonight?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. I mean, I'm extremely happy with the way I performed out there today. But, yeah, no, it doesn't get much better. You're right.
Q. How much of what you learned in your previous meetings with Venus did you have to work with?
ALICIA MOLIK: I think I drew a lot from past experiences. I think I mentioned earlier in an earlier press conference that I played Venus in 2004, I think in February, in Dubai. I had chances to both close out the first and the second sets. In that particular match, though I lost, I had many opportunities which I didn't take. That's a match that I learnt from tonight. Every opportunity that I had, I really made something of it, or tried to make something of it. Went for my shots, stayed aggressive. And things fell my way. I think that's when I play my best tennis.
Q. She put you under a lot of pressure in the second set. A lot of breakpoints. Must be pleased the way you got out of that?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, at the same time I think I put a lot of pressure on her as well. I think we were going back and forth. But thankfully I feel like I have the type of serve that I guess can get me out of a lot of those breakpoints. I feel like I have the weapons to use out there. You know, I think I definitely kept her guessing on her return. I mixed up my serves, and I felt like she was often guessing where I was serving the ball. But, you know, I think I did most things pretty well today.
Q. Obviously you're a much-improved player. How do you think she is compared to what she was like a couple years ago?
ALICIA MOLIK: I mean, she was definitely dominating more, I guess, a couple of years ago. But, you know, I can just speak for myself in that I'm a much different player from three years ago. I guess my game's gone through a complete overhaul. I'm a much better player, a much more confident player. And I feel like I can do a lot more on the tennis court. I feel like when my Plan A isn't going so well, I can always switch to a Plan B. I feel like I have that ability.
Q. Do you think that tomorrow the security guard of the locker rooms will let you in, even if you don't have your pass?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, no (smiling). Security's there for a reason. I've brought it here today. But I guess they're just doing their job, huh?
Q. As you say, most things went pretty right tonight. Are you such a perfectionist that you think about the things you still can improve on?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. You know, I guess I'll go home tonight and think through the match a little bit and probably more so tomorrow when I have more of an in-depth chat with my coach, David. We'll run through the match. I mean, I was pretty happy with just about everything. You know, still if I could pick one thing out was the first set point that I had in the first set where I hit a slice forehand into the net instead of probably going after it. Yeah, I do. I mean, I'm pretty happy. I'm a pretty tough judge. But I definitely look at the positives. At the same time, I see, you know -- I try and see what I could have improved on. But, I mean, I'm going to take it. God, it's 5 and 6. I'm not going to have too many complaints.
Q. How does it feel to know you're going to be Top 10?
ALICIA MOLIK: I guess it feels the same as today when I wasn't Top 10. I feel like I'm a good player, and that's it.
Q. Lindsay next round. Confident to beat her?
ALICIA MOLIK: I haven't beaten Lindsay before, like I hadn't beaten Venus today. It's going to be a good match-up. Lindsay plays such a big game. She's a clean hitter of the ball. She's very good at moving the ball around and has a particularly good serve. Again, if I'm on song like I was today, I feel like if I create a few chances, if I create a few opportunities, then, you know, I feel like I can definitely, you know, put myself in a position to win. So it's much the same as today. Play my own style of tennis, play my own game, and see what happens.
Q. I know you have a lot of self-belief, but do you think you took an extra step forward today?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. I've never been in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam before. So if that's not a step forward, I don't know, you know, what is. Especially to enter the quarterfinal stage of a Grand Slam beating someone like Venus, I think that speaks volumes of words. But I'm pretty happy with the way I played today. You know, more so than reaching the quarterfinals, I think it's a huge feat that I beat Venus, and beat her the way that I did. I beat her playing my tennis. I didn't wait for her to make mistakes. That's something I can be pretty proud of.
Q. You said you know if Plan A is not working, you can go to a Plan B. Did you feel that Venus had a Plan B that she could go to or were you pretty sure of what was going your way?
ALICIA MOLIK: I don't know. My Plan A was working, so that's all I worried about out there.
Q. In terms of what was coming at you, were you confident that you always knew what she was going to try?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I didn't know. I have no idea what every single shot Venus was going to hit. But, you know, I guess I felt like I moved pretty well out there today. So, you know, a couple times she may have been patent slightly, but not too much. I never felt like I was under too much stress. I think I moved incredibly well today. So I think I put the pressure on her, I guess, by getting a hell of a lot of balls back.
Q. Did you watch Lleyton's match?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I did. I watched most of the end of it. I was waiting obviously to go on to play. I definitely drew inspiration from that, the way he fought back. I guess Lleyton's been in that situation so many times now, I had no doubt he was going to get through that match. I mean, it was a fantastic win. I didn't get to see him unfortunately. It was amazing the way he came through that match.
Q. Speaking of your improvement, four years ago you came here as a promising young player, going to a new Vodafone arena, losing to Silvija Talaja 6-0, 6-0. What did you have to do to put yourself in the position you are now, to be in quarterfinals of the Australian Open?
ALICIA MOLIK: I guess results and good tennis come from hard work and dedication and believing in yourself and I guess persistence, perseverance. They're all things that I've done ever since I guess I picked up a tennis racquet. I always give a hundred percent on the court. I've been willing to listen to my coach and make changes with my game. I've been willing to work at parts of my game. I've been very open to suggestions. I mean, you can't really pick one thing. But I'm very motivated. And I guess when you get rewards like today you realize and it really hits you why you put in all those hours on the tennis court, why you train so much, why you go to the gym, why you do all those things. You do all those things so you can come through with a victory like I did tonight against Venus.
Q. That's your dream, to play in front of an Aussie crowd like that?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I like it. I mean, I played every match out there. But, yeah, it's nice. It's great to have all my friends and family there, and my support crew. It's fantastic. And the crowd were fantastic tonight. They definitely helped me a lot out there. I guess, I was riding on their emotions a little bit as well. And when you walk out from the change of ends and hear everyone screaming and yelling, you know, you hear your name, it gives you a lot of inspiration.
Q. Talk us through how you were feeling match point. Were you focused, totally focused?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. I was pretty focused match point. I had a couple of them. The first one that I had, I just, you know, wanted to keep playing the way I was playing. I wanted to keep playing aggressive. You know, if I didn't win the first one, I wouldn't have been too concerned. I would have played the second one the same. If I didn't get that, I would have played the third one the same. So, yeah, I was pretty excited to get to match point.
Q. 12-nil this year. Is this your record?
ALICIA MOLIK: I didn't know. I don't really look at records and stats.
Q. Have you had 12 in a row?
ALICIA MOLIK: I don't know, because I don't really look at records and stats and I don't count. I mean, I guess my coach does that. I like getting out on the court, I like playing. When I finish my matches, I like getting the hell out of here. You know, I like switching off. You know, that's something that I don't really do too much is read -- I guess I do read match stats, but as far as records and ranking and points and this and that, they're all I guess external things that I don't have to worry about. I just like worrying about my tennis, and that's it pretty much.
Q. Was it hard to keep your belief in yourself when you had people your own age like the Belgians or Williams sisters winning big titles?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. For me, I grew up with a lot of the I guess you would call it Henins, Clijsters, Myskina and Dementieva. I grew up playing Juniors with those girls. If anything, they were inspiration. Yeah, they definitely drove me to try and become a better player. These are all girls that I grew up with playing Juniors at different levels in different years. You know, when one gets through you always think to yourself, "Well, why not me?" But I guess my motivation comes, you know, from myself. It always has. But, yeah, it helps that your peers and people you know are doing fantastically well, because it definitely is something you can draw on.
Q. Did you get a sense tonight that Venus underestimated your improvements since the last time you played each other?
ALICIA MOLIK: Don't know. No.
Q. Did you used to beat the girls in Juniors? What was your record?
ALICIA MOLIK: I didn't play too many of them. I mean, I didn't have the flashiest junior year. I probably played a year and a half or almost two years. I didn't sort of stay on the Junior circuit too much. I wanted to get out on the satellites and get out in the seniors as soon as I could. I don't exactly remember. Probably more of a losing record than a winning one. I don't really know.
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