August 27, 2003
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK, A. MOLIK/C. Martinez 7-5, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You must have felt good going into that match?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, well, I believed I was going in that match as the favorite. We played once previously this year I think in March or April. It was on green clay. I beat Conchita pretty convincingly. So, you know, coming into the US Open, it's hard court. It probably favors me a little bit more. Yeah, I put the pressure on myself. I expected to go out there and beat her. That's the way I looked at it.
Q. You certainly played like that, didn't you? You were always on the front foot.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I mean, I had to be. Last time, as I said, it was a pretty convincing win. I went out there and basically went for everything. I think I served a lot better, which was the key last time I played her. But, you know, Conchita, she's a baseliner. She likes to mix up the play. I think one positive was that I had to live off my second serve today. So it's a good thing. When you have to do that and you can pull through with a win, I think it's a really good sign.
Q. You were playing with a lot of confidence today. You've been doing that all year, haven't you?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, it's been good, you know. I've been playing more consistent tennis more regularly. So I guess I've been feeding off that. I haven't had, I don't think, any bad losses. I've had, you know -- I've had a lot of tough matches. I've definitely won a lot of those tough matches this year. I turned that around from last year, I think. For instance, I think my three-set record has probably improved a lot this year. But I've just been going for it. There's only one way to beat these girls, girls like Conchita. I think she's 12 or 13 now. You can't hold back. I think every time you step out on the court, you have to really go for it. There's only one option.
Q. Have you looked at the draw? It's looking pretty good for you.
ALICIA MOLIK: I play Suarez next. I can't look too far from that. I played her a few weeks ago in LA. She beat me 4 and 4. It's gonna be tough. But, yeah, I believe I can come through exactly like I did today.
Q. You've got, you know, obviously now no Conchita, no Chanda in your section. That's got to make you feel -- I know you got to look at the next match, but it's got to make you feel pretty good about how deep you can go?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, definitely. There's no reason why I can't win two, three or four more matches. There's a lot of girls out there that have made quarterfinals, semifinals. Look at Zvonareva, Bovina. I compare myself with these girls, they're girls I've had wins over. There's no reason why I can't step up this time. I've been in positions like this a number of times. I believe I've learned from that. I believe that I'm, you know, I'm ready to take that next step.
Q. No Venus this year. You won't have to deal with Venus this year, as you got last year.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, I guess that helps. No complaints from my end. But you draw a Williams sister in a Grand Slam, that's when they bring out their best tennis. So it's really hard. But, you know, on that note, you play who you're dealt and that's out of my hands, whether Venus and Serena are in the draw or not.
Q. What do you think is the main difference between you when we were sitting here having this chat last year and now?
ALICIA MOLIK: Well, I think I'm a better player. I think I've improved. Yeah, I guess if you're a better player, you can have more wins and you can play better tennis. I've been working really hard with my coach David. Just persevering, persisting. I guess a little bit more belief, too, goes a long way.
Q. Could you speak about the Suarez match, just what the trick of that was. I don't think I've seen much of her. I presume she's a baseline player?
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, she's an Argentinian. She, you know, she's a great player. I think she's made a couple quarters, I don't know. She's been in the semifinal of the French. She's a very established player. I played her a couple weeks ago. It was 4 and 4. You know, I felt like I could have played a hell of a lot better. So definitely, definitely do a lot better than I think the last match that we played.
Q. How far off are you regularly beating these Top 20 players and basically placing yourself in that Top 20 bracket?
ALICIA MOLIK: I'm not too far off. I beat Conchita today. I think she's No. 12 or 13. So my record against the Top 20 players, Top 30 players is pretty good, I think. Yeah, I think I've had quite a few good wins over those players already.
Q. You seemed to come in a lot against Conchita. I don't remember you coming in as much last year.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, you know, when you serve a heavy kicker and someone's continually slicing it - not just slicing it, but slicing it, you know, floating it pretty deep - I think, yeah, it would have been silly not to come in, not to serve and volley. In saying that, I probably could have done a little bit more out there today. I could have played her backhand a little bit more, and I could have snuck in a lot more. I think she wants me to stay on the baseline, she wants me to rally. She wants me to, you know, get into chip-backhand rallies and do all that. So the sooner I can take that away from her, take her game away from her, in the end, she started trying to hit over the backhand on my kick. When I see her changing her own game style, I guess that's a good sign for me. So, you know, that's what I always aim to do, is to give trouble to my opponent. It was good to see in the end her trying to change her own game.
Q. Did you feel like she wasn't much interested in playing a third set?
ALICIA MOLIK: Oh, I mean, you can never tell. Conchita's pace between points is always slow. You know, she likes stepping on, you know -- between the lines and she has a routine. So I mean, it's no different. She plays I think every match like that. Some people might -- may think she's down and out but then she'll find something extra. I mean, we've played a number of times. It wasn't unusual. It wasn't unexpected.
Q. Why did you replay that point?
ALICIA MOLIK: Which point?
Q. There was a point, I think, on her serve.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, well, I was --
Q. Looked like it was out.
ALICIA MOLIK: I was certain that it was out. Yeah, it was just an overrule. That was 15-30. That would have made it 15-40 for, I think, two matchpoints. But, yeah, it was an overrule. I mean, what can you do? These things happen. So I had my serve. I couldn't complain, you know. Was going into that next game on serve.
Q. Could you refresh my memory on what your best win rankings-wise?
ALICIA MOLIK: My best, sorry?
Q. Your best win rankings-wise in terms of your opponent.
ALICIA MOLIK: God, I don't know. I don't know. I'm certain I've beaten, you know, players inside 10. I don't know. Do you have the media guide? It might be in there. My coach would know.
ALICIA MOLIK: Yeah, Hantuchova. I beat her this year. I think she was maybe 5 or 6 at the time. Yeah, that's a good one.
Q. What's the one that stands out, though, in your mind, like you go back and say, "This is the one that I remember the most. I beat somebody good and I played well"?
ALICIA MOLIK: You know, the best match I've played has probably been against Zvonareva in Hobart. I think that by far outweighs any other match. I think she's a quality player. Probably that one. I think she was ranked maybe 40, 50 at the time. I mean, she's Top 20 now. She's playing the same tennis back then. That match just in particular stands out in my mind.
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