January 22, 2005
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, A. MOLIK/T. Panova 6-3, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Nothing much wrong with the serve today, was there?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. No, there wasn't much wrong with it. I was pretty happy with the way I finished off the match. I was playing a nice out-wide and pulled it off, which is a good sign when I guess your intentions come to fruition. No, I was really happy with the way I played today.
Q. 2-All second set, you seemed to be getting a little frustrated there. Was there something you felt wasn't quite right?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, I just -- you know, I felt like I was a little bit in and out of, I guess, playing aggressively. Just, you know, a couple shots that I didn't stay down enough on. You know, I expected to play at a very high level throughout the whole match, the whole two sets. My intentions were to go out there and play at the top of my game right from the start. So, you know, just took me a little while to get into it. After I got, you know, the first set, there weren't too many dramas. You know, it was pretty tough. I guess she -- I guess I didn't feel like we had too much rhythm. We didn't play to too many patterns. But, you know, I was pretty happy getting through it.
Q. Is that part of your mindset at the moment, that you've got to go out, go full steam, just to make a statement to those other competitors you might be coming across in the next week or so?
ALICIA MOLIK: Not to make a statement, but more so for myself. I definitely always look to improve on my last performance. I feel like I've been playing great tennis. But, you know, I think in an event like this, I guess all the time I always try and get the most out of myself. So today against Tatiana, I know she plays more of a running game, I knew I was going to be the aggressive player. But it was how much of the time I could play that type of tennis. You know, I'm always looking to improve. I'm always looking to do that little bit extra. I guess I'm always looking to try and perfect things.
Q. What sort of challenge does Venus Williams present?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, it will be a big challenge. We had a good match in Dubai, I think we played earlier on in 2004. It's going to be a great match, I think. I'm really looking forward to it. But, you know, Venus is a great player with plenty of big shots. No doubt I guess the match will be played at a very, very high level, I'd expect.
Q. What's the biggest challenge in playing her?
ALICIA MOLIK: I guess probably winning, you know. I guess that's a challenge. That's it really. I got near enough last time. I was pretty disappointed losing to her in Dubai. I felt like I had many, many opportunities that presented themselves which I didn't take advantage of. But I feel like I've been in those types of situations many times over the last six months, 12 months. So handling those a lot better. Yeah, it was a very close match. I was very disappointed to have lost. But, you know, I feel like I'm in the right position to give it a good go.
Q. What's the toughest part of her game to overcome?
ALICIA MOLIK: I guess, you know, Venus has a very good serve. I guess she has a very good serve. And I think I have a very good serve, too. I guess, you know, it will be very much a serving game. Maybe to some extent we might cancel each other out. But I think it's going to be very much a holding game.
Q. Are you the sort of player that could possibly be intimidated by an opponent and an occasion?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, I don't think so. I, you know, have played every match now on centre court. I've enjoyed getting out there. I've played in enough big arenas. I've really enjoyed the last six months. I feel like I've risen to many occasions. When a big match and a big opponent present themselves, I feel like I've really managed step it up. I'm really looking forward to it. I feel my game is in perfect shape to, you know, play again great tennis against Venus.
Q. Was there one particular experience which took you up to that level?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. But it was a matter of I guess coming through and getting through and winning many tight matches, many matches that were neck-and-neck. I have won plenty of those over the past six months.
Q. She has a winning edge over you. What sort of edge do you think you take into the match over her?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, you know, I won a hell of a lot of matches the last six months. I've come off a tournament win in Sydney. I was undefeated in Perth. You know, they're all very much positives, I feel, for me. I'm feeling great. I'm feeling fit. I'm feeling relaxed. So I guess if you combine all those factors, I feel like I've set myself up ideally to try and take advantage of an opportunity against Venus in a couple of days, or maybe tomorrow.
Q. What about the weight of national expectation?
ALICIA MOLIK: You know, I don't think anyone out there or the public expect any more of me than I do of myself. You know, I had a convincing win today, yet I'm still disappointed. I feel I probably should have been off the court a little bit quicker. I have very high expectations of myself. I feel that -- yeah, I don't feel any more pressure than what I do put on myself. I think I'm a pretty hard judge of myself and my tennis and life full stop. You know, I think I'm probably the toughest judge there is out there. But I think the crowd have been fantastic. The public have been fantastic. Everything's been very much positive, what I've heard. Like I've said earlier, I just go about my business this time of year and treat it like any other tournament. I don't change my routine. It's all very familiar, and it feels very familiar.
Q. You talk about opportunity, how you cherish your bronze medal. Is this the biggest opportunity of your career?
ALICIA MOLIK: I'm not sure. You know, winning a bronze medal, yeah, it's definitely a highlight of my career. But I see my next match against Venus Williams as a huge opportunity, and one that I'm hopefully planning to grab hold of, enjoy and embrace, try and bring the best tennis out of me. I feel ready, I feel relaxed, I feel that I can still step it up a couple gears. But, again, I realize that I've managed to step up to the plate many, many times over the past six months. You know, I have many positives to draw from, I guess, which obviously have been helping me in my form the last couple weeks. I feel good and I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Have you had any indication whether it might be a night match?
ALICIA MOLIK: I'm not a hundred percent sure yet. I just looked at tomorrow's schedule. We're not on that. I've just come out of the change room. I'll go in and see and have a chat, do some research and find out.
Q. Make any difference to you if it was?
ALICIA MOLIK: No. I enjoy playing both day and night. I managed to play one night match here already. The crowd are fantastic at night. I guess, you know, during the day, sometimes they can be a little bit hot and bothered by the sun. No doubt they're still pretty vocal. But they're very much tuned in in the evenings. Everybody is there to have a good time. They're all pretty relaxed and in a good mood. Regardless, I feel like I'm prepared for whatever the tournament throws at me.
Q. Please excuse my pommy ignorance. I was talking to a couple of Aussies. I said, "What she's like?" They said, "Alicia, she's great, she's a dag." Can you tell me what a dag is, please?
ALICIA MOLIK: Just a very cool person (smiling).
Q. It's a compliment; it's a nice thing to say?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. They're giving me raps. Who told you that?
Q. A certain guy that stands on the court interviewing you a lot of the time.
ALICIA MOLIK: He's a double dag (smiling).
Q. The overwhelming crowd support is great to have. What effect, if any, does it have on a match like you're going to have on Monday?
ALICIA MOLIK: I think it helps obviously during the process. The crowd, you know, can lift you at certain times. I feel like, you know, at certain points in the match you definitely draw from them, you get energy from the crowd. You know, they create an atmosphere out there. Definitely they help you and ride with your emotions. You know, for me playing in Australia, playing in my own backyard, I feel like each and every single person out there is right behind me. You know, it's a fantastic, wonderful feeling. You know, it's a feeling that you don't -- you never experience anywhere else but being in a large arena like Rod Laver, playing a match.
Q. You have this great run of results, you're on the verge of the Top 10. Do you feel as though you've joined the world's elite?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I feel very much a part of the best players in the world, yeah.
Q. Do you feel you need a Grand Slam title to really legitimize that?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, I've won each and every tier. You know, I'd love to win one. I don't feel like I need to prove anything. I feel that I'm a very good, a very accomplished player. I feel like I'm a player that, you know, a lot of girls don't want to play. You know, I believe in my abilities. I still feel like there's room for improvement. I think that's enough.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.