January 23, 2004
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, A. MOLIK/C. Schaul 6-7, 6-1, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alicia, please.
Q. Amelie was saying you hadn't played before. Is that right?
ALICIA MOLIK: No, no, we haven't played before.
Q. She said you practiced a few times together. Is that right?
ALICIA MOLIK: Gosh, you got me on that one. I think maybe once or twice, yeah. Yeah, you're right. But that was a while ago.
Q. Do you know much about her game or...?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I've been watching her. She's been playing great tennis. She played at the Hopman Cup. You know, yeah, she's a fantastic player. I watch a little bit of her, not a hell of a lot. Big player, lot of weapons. She hits the ball, uses her serve very smart at the same time. Yeah, she's a very, very good player.
Q. How would you go into the next round facing Amelie Mauresmo?
ALICIA MOLIK: I just think I have to go out there like I did in the last three rounds. I've been trying to focus on my own game. Just being proactive and using my game to its advantage. I think that's the way I play my better tennis, is when I'm concentrated on what I need to do instead of worrying about my opponent. I guess I'll go in with the same mindset.
Q. When did you feel you had that under control?
ALICIA MOLIK: I mean, the start was a little bit rocky. But I don't think it was a bad start. I knew what I had to do. I was just getting the guts up to do it and to execute. Yeah, no point in knowing what to do when you're not gonna get out there and do it. First set was close. Had a few opportunities which I didn't get to close out. But, you know, I knew that -- I knew what I needed to do. It's just a matter of time, really. I lost the first set. It was no big deal because I felt like I would get back in the second, which I did, and played even better in the third.
Q. The early break in the second was obviously important. Did you feel you got on a roll from there?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, one thing to break and another thing to sort of consolidate. I always try and get the first break. It always helps me, helps my serve, helps my confidence really. So, that's something I'm looking to do in every single match, every single set that I play. Just a matter of holding that next game after the break.
Q. Is there a danger of, first time fourth round here, is there a danger of thinking, "I've done better than I've ever done," and being satisfied?
ALICIA MOLIK: Not really, no. I think I was pretty lucky to step out on the court here at the Australian Open first round. I haven't looked that far. I've been playing great tennis, you know, some great form. Like I said, it was one thing to even be in the event. Being in the fourth round, I know it's my first fourth round, but, you know, it does feel normal. I think I went out there today and I was expected to beat Claudine. Yeah, I managed to do it. It doesn't feel any different than the first round or the second round. I know what it feels like to be in the fourth round; nothing special.
Q. Does it require to go up a level of game to play against the top 10, 20 players? You've played them in Hopman Cup, you know what has to be done.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah.
Q. Is it a level again that you have to go to?
ALICIA MOLIK: I enjoy playing against top players. It's great for me. My level always raises. I definitely play at a higher level. Sometimes it's harder playing lower-ranked players when you know you're expected to beat them and you should beat them. Rankings indicate that. The last couple years have shown, yeah, I match up really well against players. I have risen to the occasion many times. That's something that I'll be looking to do against Amelie as well. She's a quality player. That means my game is going to have to be in tip-top shape. In a way it's good because you know the level, you know the standard, you know where you're going to have to be at if you're going to have a chance.
Q. Having had a couple of third rounds in the last five or six years, is it not a feeling of excitement of going into unchartered waters?
ALICIA MOLIK: Definitely it's always something I've been shooting for. In saying that, yeah, I've made a lot of third rounds. I knew, I guess -- I don't know. It's gonna be a matter of time before I reach a fourth round. Next thing is quarters. Again, unchartered territory. But that's something I'm going to be looking at and focusing on.
Q. Do you think your game should be getting to at this stage?
ALICIA MOLIK: What do you mean "should be getting to"?
Q. Making more Grand Slam quarters.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, absolutely. I've learned to deal with difficult situations in the last couple of third rounds that I've made, and I think I've made huge progress, I think, in the last year, dealing with emotions and nerves and things, and those things aren't much of an issue anymore. But, yeah, I think this year, looking to fourth rounds, quarters, semis, I think I'm capable. As long as I focus on playing my game and good tennis, I don't see any reason why I can't repeat this.
Q. How good is it to be doing it here though?
ALICIA MOLIK: It's fantastic. It's always nice to play great in your own backyard. Have your family here, have friends here, supporting. Familiar voices in the crowd. It's nice. You play a hard game of tennis, get to go home, relax, just do the normal thing. So I've always enjoyed playing in Melbourne. I've always enjoyed playing in Australia. It's a real bonus because I'm feeling great, I'm feeling fit. Just very thankful that my foot's been fine for the entire tournament.
Q. What is going to be your main weapon against Amelie?
ALICIA MOLIK: My main weapon, I don't know. I hope I have a few weapons on the day. I'll be doing the things that I always try and do in every match: try and use my strengths, you know, just my serve and, you know, try and hit a few big forehands. I don't know. I think I'll try and play like I did today and like I did in the second round and like I did in the first round and see how I go.
Q. Some of the players have talked about feeding off the crowd. Do you do that, or do you prefer to sort of lock yourself in and concentrate?
ALICIA MOLIK: I mean, yeah, I need to concentrate. I know I need to concentrate. But at the same time, you hear voices in the crowd. I did hear all the chants today. Yeah, it does lift you. I really enjoy it. The crowd have always been fantastic to me here in Melbourne. It was great playing at Margaret Court arena. It was a pretty intimate crowd. They're really getting into the spirit of things. That can only help your tennis game, I think.
Q. Did you start off this year with the mindset that, "Yeah, I should be getting into fourth rounds and then quarterfinals," rather than second or third rounds?
ALICIA MOLIK: Not really, no. I sort of went into 2004 wanting to play better tennis more often, really. That's pretty much it.
Q. What sort of pressures do you feel as an Australian playing at the Australian Open?
ALICIA MOLIK: No pressures, really. I'm playing a tournament that, you know, tennis is a world sport, there's people here from everywhere. I can only see it as a help that friends and family and the crowd support me being an Australian. I don't see it as any added extra pressure. It helps out there, yeah, when you're breakpoint down. The crowd lifts you. You try and use it. I've really been enjoying it this week.
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