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January 18, 2005

Alicia Molik

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, A. MOLIK/A. Medina Garrigues 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alicia, please.

Q. You seemed to enjoy that today.

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I mean, I started off fantastically well. You know, I was on the front foot from the beginning. I had her on the back foot and really put the pressure on. So I felt that she was feeling the pressure from me, and that's the way that I like to play. Right from the word go I felt very comfortable. I felt like I was spot on my game. And, you know, I probably could have closed out the second set a little easier. Tried to come up with a couple of fancy shots but I guess that's something that, you know, I'll just look to improve in the next match. But it was a pretty solid performance, I thought.

Q. You spoke with some passion about what the Olympics meant. Is that to do with what the Olympics are or the chance to represent Australia?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, the Olympic experience for me wasn't just about me winning a medal. It was about living amongst, training amongst Australia's and the word's best athletes. Tennis is very much an individual sport. We travel on the tour all year. So to finally be able to support and see fellow country people and athletes and, you know, come home to the village at the end of the day and have a chat about performances or disappointments was just an amazing experience and something that I'll never forget. I really enjoyed Sydney. I must say I enjoyed Athens a lot more. Haven't quite thought about four years ahead, but no doubt in the future I'll definitely be thinking about coming home with another medal. I'd love that.

Q. What would you rather, a gold medal or Australian Open?

ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, it's always a tough one. An Australian Open would be pretty nice, yeah.

Q. Are you sensing that people are kind of wondering, "Can Alicia bring an Australian champion to the Australian Open this year?" Are you feeling the buzz?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I know people are very excited. I'm one of those people, I'll tell you that much.

Q. Any pressure? You feel any pressure?

ALICIA MOLIK: No, no, I don't. You know, I've had a fantastic couple weeks. I played great tennis at the Hopman Cup. I won Sydney last week. I've had the most ideal preparation, I feel, that I've ever had going into the Australian Open. You know, I feel very focused right now. I am very clear about what I do on the tennis court day in and day out. As long as I keep doing that over the next couple weeks. I mean, the way I played today I felt like I played a very, very high level. That's the way I would play as if I was playing one of the top seeds as well. That's something I'm going to try and do over the next couple of matches, is keep playing at the highest level that I possibly can to prepare myself if I get that far. If I get that far, we'll see what happens.

Q. If you are going to be a contender at Grand Slam tournaments, how important is it to go out on court and smash another girl like you did today?

ALICIA MOLIK: I don't think it's all about the score line. I think what is very important is the way I play and my intentions on the tennis court, you know. I could maybe win a match with that score line being defensive. Probably not. I like to go out there, the more convincing the win for me, the more aggressive and more attacking, the more I go for the shots I feel is the best possible way to prepare myself for later encounters, I guess.

Q. Was there one particular match you played in the last six, nine matches, maybe Olympics, Zurich, which really raised your belief level?

ALICIA MOLIK: I was definitely on a high after Zurich, after beating Sharapova there in the final. That was a special moment. I guess I'd come back from a set down. And then to win the next two sets, I felt was a hell of an effort. Even last week in Sydney I wasn't playing great tennis. When you're in the thick of things, and you're in a final, and you can come out the victor when you're not playing your best tennis, I guess that is a good sign. As much as I wasn't happy with my tennis, I was very, very happy with the way I fought hard and really gutsed it out.

Q. When did you last lose a singles match?

ALICIA MOLIK: I don't know. To Sharapova in Philadelphia, which was my last match of 2004.

Q. Which would have been in...

ALICIA MOLIK: Don't know. November maybe, yeah.

Q. What round was that?

ALICIA MOLIK: Quarterfinals.

Q. Are you sensing anything different about this tournament, the atmosphere being that it's the 100th anniversary?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I think it's definitely very exciting. I heard there was almost a record crowd out there yesterday on the grounds, which is fantastic. Yeah, for me it's another Australian Open. But definitely I guess there is a little bit more hype now that it is more of an established Grand Slam.

Q. A non-tennis question. This time last year there was a story around of a battle between a couple of AFL clubs to sign you up as their big-name supporter. Is there a club you follow, and if so, how well do you follow that club?

ALICIA MOLIK: I'm a footy lover, I must admit. I love getting out and watching the game. But I have to admit I've been training over at Lexus Center. I'm about to go over there and have a massage now. Been fortunate enough to be invited over there. I'll probably, if any, watch mostly Collingwood games this season. I think I'd love to go and watch the boys play.

Q. Who was your club growing up?

ALICIA MOLIK: I feel like I'm committing a crime now, changing teams. Growing up I followed the Eagles in the SNLF in South Australia. Obviously I was born there. I've been in Melbourne the last couple years. I'm never home, but I love getting out to any single supporting event.

Q. Fraser Gehrig and Scott Cummings were in your box today.

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, they're very good friends of mine. I try and get out as much as I can and watch Fraser during the season. I love watching him play footy, and Scotty is a good friend of mine. It's great to have familiar faces and familiar voices out there cheering me on.

Q. Do you have any superstitions or anything about your tennis?


Q. No rituals?

ALICIA MOLIK: No, not one single thing that I do regularly every day. How's that (smiling)?

Q. Is there a boyfriend on the scene?

ALICIA MOLIK: No (smiling).

Q. No plans for one?

ALICIA MOLIK: You know, I'm a very busy girl right now. You know, it doesn't help my cause that I've been winning matches, so there's not a lot of downtime. But, you know, I travel seven, eight months a year. It's a very difficult thing. But maybe I just haven't met that Knight in shining armor, I don't know.

Q. Kevan Gosper struggled with that corsage. What was going on there?

ALICIA MOLIK: He just presented me with a very lovely pin. That was the full extent of it. I was more than happy to be on centre court to be presented with something like that. It's a huge honor to have been out there or been invited out there and represent my country in such a way that everyone recognizes my efforts that I give to my country.

Q. You looked a bit embarrassed at what he said. Were you?

ALICIA MOLIK: I was just having a joke (smiling). No, I don't even remember what he said.

Q. When you zipped up your top straightaway.

ALICIA MOLIK: You would have too, probably.

Q. Some people have expressed surprise about how well you've done the last year, in your supposed sudden emergence. Does it seem like that to you, or does it just seem an evolution you have worked for that has finally arrived?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I finally feel like I'm being rewarded for all the hours I've put in over all the years. Even a couple years ago, when I was ranked 40, 50, I always believed I was a much better player than that and I probably should have had a nicer number next to my name. Despite, I guess, you know, not being exactly where I wanted to be on the rankings for so long, I always felt like I was a much better player. So it's gone with endless hours working with my coach, David Taylor, training off the court, in the gym, doing all the things I need to be doing. I've made every effort to cover, I guess, every facet in my tennis: the technical side, the tactical side, the physical side, the psychological side. They're all as important as each other, I feel. You know, I think it helps that I do believe in myself probably more than anyone. That comes in handy, too, at the end of the day.

Q. Svetlana is your doubles partner. Do you have any concern about how that will impact on your tilt at the doubles here?

ALICIA MOLIK: If I can make a statement. I just think it's very important for people out there to believe probably half of what they hear and none of what they read. I think the girls who are featured on the front paper were very unjustly done by. Svetlana took a substance which is not banned, and out of competition. So there's absolutely nothing wrong with anything that she's done. I feel it's very important, I guess -- it would have been nice if everyone involved in the whole situation - meaning the Belgian official - it would have been fantastic if he had abided by the "Code of Ethics" as far as drug testing go. As far as I'm concerned and the WTA Tour and our anti-doping body, there's been absolutely nothing wrong with what any of the girls have done or what Svetlana has done. I think it's very important for everyone to remember that as much as you like writing about gossip, as much as you like writing about speculation, and as much as you like writing about I guess the "in" topics, obviously this drugs issue has come about now, and as much as you like writing about all that, I think it's very important to remember that it's a sensitive issue and it's important to realize that, you know, players do have feelings. I don't think it's very fair on any single one of those three girls that are featured on the cover of the papers. In fact I was down at my local convenience store this morning and I saw the papers and I read the front page. And I bought every single newspaper in the convenience store and threw them away. That's how strongly I felt about the issue. It's a non-issue. I feel like it has been misreported. I'd also feel that it would be nice if the media could show a little bit of compassion or maybe report in a little bit more of a tasteful manner. That would probably be a good thing for our sport.

Q. What do you think of the Belgian sports minister that leaked this information? It's cast a shadow over Svetlana's performance here at the Open.

ALICIA MOLIK: I don't think it has cast a shadow. I flipped Kuzy a text this morning and just said, "Don't worry about it, mate. I'm going to do my best to make it clear that what has been reported, obviously make clear that it's, I guess, complete misreporting," if you can call that. But as far as the official goes, I think, you know, it would be very nice in a professional sport if we could control things outside of the tennis court, outside the lines. Unfortunately, all we can do as professionals is take care of what we need to do on the tennis court. So, you know, we work by the rules, we work by the ethics, we do everything asked of us. It would be very good and it would be nice and it would probably do our sport justice if the officials involved with anti-doping would abide by their rules and their Code of Conduct and, you know. Working with that, I think we do our job so well, I think it's very important for people around tennis to treat it just as professionally as us. I know it wasn't fair of even the names to have been given to anyone or to have been reported. So as far as I'm concerned and as far as the WTA is concerned, as far as everyone in anti-doping is concerned, it's a complete non-issue. Nothing's been done that shouldn't have been done. As far as I'm concerned, it's a bit of a show about nothing. I think it would be very nice tomorrow in the media and the paper if, you know, if it wasn't, I guess, portrayed to the public that these girls have done anything wrong, that they've committed a crime, because they're all very good friends of mine, they're all great workers on the tennis court. Yeah, I just really think it's very unfair the way that, you know, they've been portrayed in the media. I do very much feel for them.

Q. Do you think in the future that players should maybe refuse to take a drug test when it's being done not by the Tennis Anti-Doping Program at an exhibition or something?

ALICIA MOLIK: Well, I guess, you know, we are a clean sport, so why would we not want to be drug tested? That's the bottom line. If I was at that exhibition event, if I had taken whatever it was Svetlana's cold, if I was in her position, if I had taken that, of course I'm going to be more than happy to have the drug test because it's a non-banned substance at a non-event. So it's all within the guidelines. It's all very much within the rules. We do have a clean sport, so we're obliged -- we're more than obliging to take as many drug tests as are asked of us. So then you guys know that, and then the world realizes and understands, that we do play a clean sport and we play it fairly.

Q. Knowing her, how much of an impact do you think it will have on her Australian Open?

ALICIA MOLIK: I think, I mean, hearing what Kuzy said this morning, I mean, she was fine. You know, in her heart, in my heart, in everyone else's heart, everyone involved in tennis and the WTA and around her knows that absolutely nothing wrong has been done. So I just -- if I was her, and I'm pretty sure she'd be very disappointed at obviously the official who spoke out who probably shouldn't have spoken out. And no doubt she'd be very disappointed with the way I guess it's probably been reported on the front page of media. I guess to the naked eye, the public eye who aren't so well-informed as maybe myself or Gina and the WTA, it's very easy for the public to come to quick assumptions. And I guess, yeah, that's the way I feel about the topic. I just feel like it's very unfair. But I'm playing doubles with Svetlana. No doubt we're going to have a lot of fun on the tennis court. We've already spoken about how excited we both are to team up together. It's really a non-issue right now.

End of FastScripts….

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