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August 30, 2004

Alicia Molik


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alicia.

Q. Just a very sort of comprehensive performance out there today.

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah. I think, you know, the first round in any sort of major tournament, I think it's always a tough one. I think we both had the right approach. I have been in really good form lately. I don't think that's enough, just to think that you're playing well, just to go out there and expect everything to happen. I had a few quiet moments before the match and really thought about what I needed to produce, what I needed to bring to the court, which I think I did from the onset, from the word "go." I think it was, you know, an above-average score against an above-average player. She can be tough. I was happy with that.

Q. How much has Athens changed the way you play, your belief in yourself?

ALICIA MOLIK: I don't think it's changed, I think my belief. I think the last 12 months, 24 months, I think my tennis has steadily improved. It certainly -- I think it basically showed that, you know, I can produce and I am up there with the top girls. You know, I'm in every single match that I play against both Top 10 and Top 20 players, which I am now myself. But it's given me a huge amount of confidence, the fact that I went out and played a bronze medal match. Pressure was on. Finished fourth, I would have gone home with nothing. That was probably the most pressure I've ever had to play under in my entire life. So to come out with the medal, to come out on top, I think was a great feat for me.

Q. I haven't seen you since Wimbledon. Really I haven't actually watched you play since last year here. You seem to be much more aggressive than you were. You're just putting things away, forehand is huge. Do you feel you are a more aggressive player?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I think the difference between 12 months and now is I know exactly when to use my aggression now. I know the exact time to turn it up. I know exactly what I need to do on the court. I think a couple years ago, you know, that was a bit of a gray area. I felt like I had so many options. Now my style of play, my game, Alicia Molik the tennis player, is very black and white now. I don't see too many gray areas. That allows me to go on the court and be clear about what I need to do. It's simple for me now. I have a very clear picture and a clearer understanding of how I play my best tennis. You know, it's easy when you go out and play match after match after match after match, continually do the same thing. It was something that I was searching for before but, you know, I manage to repeat day in and day out now.

Q. Can you give us a little idea of what that is? How is it different? When you say there's no more gray areas...

ALICIA MOLIK: It boils down to little things. Seeing a second serve. Now I'm nailing every single one. You know, if I miss now, I don't really care too much because chances are I'm probably going to make more than I miss. But before, you know, it was a mixture of should I chip charge, should I come in - too many options. Now, you know, it's clearer. You know, when opportunities present themselves, I really know exactly what I'm going to do.

Q. In terms of this event, what are your goals? You've had some great success against a player like Myskina. Looks like, as you said earlier, you can compete against not just the Top 20, but Top 10, Top 5 women. What are your personal goals?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's just competing. I think the fact is the last sort of 12 months I've been beating them, as well. I think they know that, too. You know, I think I'm giving myself chances in every single match that I step out and play, which I think from my point of view is comforting. I know I keep creating chances, I keep creating opportunities. As long as I do that, you know, at the right time, make the right decisions on those big points, I think there's such a fine line now, the difference between beating the top players. It's not anything dramatic that I changed. It's probably just one or two moments in every single match, which I'm producing, which I'm creating, I feel.

Q. But in terms of your goals for this tournament, is have you set yourself a quarter or semi?

ALICIA MOLIK: I always love to go one better. You know, I always like to go in unchartered territory. I went to the Olympics. I hoped and I wished that I'd go home with a medal, and I did. But, you know, I don't really want to think too far ahead. I'd love to go out every day and play the tennis I played today. If I can repeat that every day, I think I'll be pretty happy.

Q. Your first singles match since the bronze medal. How did it feel going out there or what's happened a week or two back has to be put to the back of your back and you can't rest on those sort of laurels?

ALICIA MOLIK: Well, I think it was very important for me today, you know, that I approached it like maybe a first round in the Olympics, which I did, or like a quarterfinal or like a semifinal, which I did. You know, when you come up against a form player, if I come up against a form player, I know, you know, I have to produce some of my best tennis. So that's probably some of the pressure that Stephanie felt. You know, she probably had nothing to lose. She could have gone out there swinging. But I think the fact is that I went out there and played probably doubly as tough as I normally would because it's the first rounds. They can usually, you know, jump you a little bit. I was pretty calm. No doubt, you have a few nerves before every single first round match. But I think I've become better as channeling them as well. I was very happy with it today.

Q. Can you talk about your rivalry with Hantuchova, if you do actually play her next, which is probably?

ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I mean, we've played quite a few times actually. I think I have a pretty good record against her. I think I have a game that matches up very well to her game. But, you know, I won't be looking to do anything different or anything extra than I did today on the court, I think. But, yeah, I've managed to get her the last couple times. I can't be complacent. I've still got to go out there and produce again because she is a great player and she can do a lot of things on the tennis court.

End of FastScripts….

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