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January 24, 2013

Ashleigh Barty

Casey Dellacqua

Alicia Molik


THE MODERATOR:  Alicia Molik our Fed Cup captain will announce the team for the upcoming tie against Czech Republic.
ALICIA MOLIK:  Thanks, everyone, for taking time out of your day.  First of all, it's a pleasure for me to be part of the team, not just part of the team, but take over the new role as captain of the team.
David Taylor has left this team in incredible shape.  Big shoes to fill, but I'm really excited about the opportunity that I have with all of not just the team members that will represent us in the Czech Republic, but also then the tier below and the juniors coming through.
I've decided through conversations with our coach, Nicole Bradtke, to place Ashleigh Barty on the team; Casey Dellacqua has been picked also; and of course Jarmila Gajdosova; and, of course, Sam Stosur.
I believe it's a team that will win us the tie.  I firmly believe that.  It's a great opportunity for Ashley.  She's shown what she can do and she's ready to take a spot on the team.  They're all incredibly ready.
If you've got any questions, please feel free.

Q.  With the girl's run to the final, have they selected themselves for the doubles match?
ALICIA MOLIK:  They put their best four feet forward, yeah.  I can't say for certain, but they've given themselves every opportunity.
I'll be encouraging them between now or afterwards.  All I want them to concentrate on right now is tomorrow and the final and winning that.  That's their first focus.  I don't want to confuse anything and worry about Fed Cup, because I think that will take care of itself.
But it's been great that we have ‑‑ I think we've got a few options, but Casey and Ash, they're strong.¬† They've shown it the last two weeks.¬† We'll see during the tie, but they're a very strong possibility, absolutely.

Q.  The singles positions are up for grabs?
ALICIA MOLIK:  I think every player in the team is capable, I think, of beating the Czech best two.  I'm assuming probably Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, depending on if there's any injuries or not.
Hradecká, too, is a quality singles player.  I think it will come down to the surface and matchups.  It won't boil down to ranking, I don't think.  It will really boil down to matchups of game styles.

Q.  Ash, it's been a big week for you personally.  What would a Grand Slam mean to you at this stage of your career?
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Yeah, I mean, already this week for me has been such an achievement.  To be in the final with Casey has been unbelievable.
It's already been an amazing week.  If we can go one step further, it would be incredible.

Q.  Casey, what have you learnt off of Ashleigh?
CASEY DELLACQUA:  I've learned a lot off Ash.  Ash brings a lot of youthfulness to my game to make me feel a bit young again.
I guess that fearless type of style in terms of playing, fun, enjoyment, all those things are really important to play well, I think.
So Ash and I, yeah, we have fun out there.  We really enjoy it.  I think we gel well together, but we also have a pretty fun relationship off the court as well.  I think that's been big.
So, no, I've learnt probably more off Ash than she thinks.  So, yeah.

Q.  You've been a bit of a mentor to Ash, haven't you?
CASEY DELLACQUA:  Uhm, yeah, I think more a friend maybe more than a mentor as such.
You know, I like to do what I can for the younger girls.  I like for them to be able to feel like I'm approachable, to come up to me.  I went through a lot of struggles when I was 16, 17, and I want to be that person they can feel they can come up to and have a chat with, say this or that.
Not because Ash has ever had to do that because we have fun and laugh and we just talk like friends do.  I think if I've helped Ash feel comfortable on tour, you know, feel any sort of, you know, anything that's worrying her, she feels like she can, then that's great.
But, yeah, we're certainly good friends.  That's shown on the doubles court as well.  It's been good.

Q.  Did you give yourselves any chance of getting this far when the tournament started?
CASEY DELLACQUA:  I think deep down we did, but we didn't know that.  I don't know if that makes sense.  As a player, when you walk out on court you think you can win.  There's no point walking out otherwise.
When I won our first round with Ash, that was my first win in a Grand Slam.  Oh, my God, I can't remember what that feels like.  It was like, Oh, my God, that's really exciting to know it's her first Grand Slam win.
The fact we're in the final, yeah, it is incredible.  Ash is 16.  Like, yeah, it's amazing.  It's amazing for me.  It's such a buzz for me, even at the stage in my career and what I've been through with injuries.
Coming back I've won obviously the French Open mixed.  This is such a buzz.  We've got one more to go, but so far it's been amazing.

Q.  Ash, how about you?  How did you enter the tournament in terms of expectations?
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Once we found out who we were playing first round, we've been playing well together the two previous times we played.  When we played in Japan, we gelled really well.  It was like we've been playing together for years.
To go out there and really have fun in that first round and get the win was just amazing.  To be able to continue that run on has been really, really good.

Q.  Regardless of what happens tomorrow, girls, win, lose, or draw, is the pairing going to go on to other Grand Slams?
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Yeah, I'm sure it will.
CASEY DELLACQUA:  I played with so many partners week in, week out.  It can become a real grind.  Now that our rankings will get to a really good stage, I think, you know, it would be great if we could play more.
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Definitely.
CASEY DELLACQUA:  I love French Open.  I love the clay.  I love playing at Wimbledon.  I think we have a lot of tournaments to look forward to and continue and build on what we've done here.

Q.  When was the first tournament you played together?  How many tournaments have you played together?
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  The first one we played was Brisbane International last year; made the semifinals there.  We've only ever played twice together before this, which is in Brisbane, and Toyota just a month ago or whenever it was.
Yeah, we've had great success, so hopefully we can continue that.

Q.  I think your opponents won two Grand Slams last year.  Do you feel the underdogs going into tomorrow?
CASEY DELLACQUA:  Yeah, we're definitely the underdogs.  I don't think many people would have thought we'd be in the final.  To go out there and think we're going to beat the No.1 players in the world, it's going to be a big task.
But we're up for it.  We've had enough matches this week.  It's now just about, again, doing what we've done in every match we've done so far, and that's executing the things we do well.
We know the way Vinci and Errani play doubles.  I've played both of them in singles.  I think we have a fair idea of what to expect when we go out there.
We're going to have a practice this afternoon and we'll talk about it.  We have a fair idea of what we need to do well; hopefully we can execute that.  These Grand Slam finals, they're exciting.  We're here now, so we've got to make the most of it.

Q.  You got a bit emotional on the court talking about your cousin.  Can you talk about that a little bit.
CASEY DELLACQUA:¬† Yeah, I mean, it's obviously been spoken about a lot and all that.¬† It's really, really amazing for Kaila to be here watching me play.¬† To be honest, we didn't know if she would ever be able to watch me play tennis again, let alone be here in Melbourne five months post‑transplant and be as healthy and doing as amazing as she is.
After US Open when she got the call, I was right there.  I was right by her side.  I've drawn so much inspiration just seeing every day what she's gone through, her recovery.  You know, she's amazing.
It does, it means the world to me to have her here.  That's what life's about, to have the people closest to you enjoy these moments.  Ash's family, my family, Kaila.  Everyone around us is so proud of us.

Q.  The check is not bad if you win.  Have you thought about what you might do with all that loot?
CASEY DELLACQUA:  I don't know.  You don't really think about it.  That's the truth.  Honestly, you don't ever really think about it.
I know for me being older, it's not easy.  I'm not making millions, so anything is great.  I invest back into my career in terms of what I need to do.  Yeah, it's awesome.

Q.  Ash, what about you?  More money than you could probably have dreamed of.
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Yeah, exactly.  It will cover a few of the Tigers jerseys that I buy.  I have far too many at home.  I have no idea.  Haven't thought about it.  Just go out there and play.

Q.  The prize money is actually double your entire career earnings if you win.
ASHLEIGH BARTY:  Yeah, it's good.  I don't know.  I never really focus about the money too much.  You kind of just go out there and play tennis.  We play because we love the sport and we love to go out there and compete.
To have great success is just icing on the cake.

Q.  Alicia, I think you're the last Australian to hold a trophy out on Rod Laver Arena.  What sort of chance do you give the girls tomorrow?
ALICIA MOLIK:  First of all, I believe that they can.  Yes, watching Casey and Ash reminds me of when Svetlana and I won the doubles title here.  Also reminds me, well Casey just jigs my memory back to taking match by match winning the French Open as well with Mara Santangelo.
Yes, you belive you can win every match.  There are so many other better teams than you, but you just build on your confidence.  We played a better team than us in the French Open final and we beat them.
Svetlana and I here in Melbourne, we played a better team than us as well:  Lindsay Davenport and Corina Morariu at the time they were at the top of their games.
That's the beauty of finals.  Some teams find their best tennis.  So many don't cope with nerves.  Some get caught up in the moment and don't know how to deal with certain situations on the court.
It brings out in the best in people, the worst in people.  I was fortunate that both partners I won Grand Slams with were incredibly supportive.  I think that's what Ash and Casey give to each other.
There's no better feeling playing on a doubles court when you're completely uninhibited.  When you make mistakes, when you can look your partner in straight in the eye and they give you encouragement, there's not many individuals I think on the doubles tour like that that don't show their disappointment.
That goes a long way when you can play a full game, you don't feel worried about your partner's reactions.  That's what you both give to each other.  There's no better feeling.
And I felt the other side, when you're playing with someone and you're scared to make a mistake, you're scared to hit a double‑fault.
When you can play free, and I did that with Svetlana here in the final, it's the best feeling in the world.

Q.  On Fed Cup, Jelena Dokic made her debut and went on to a good career, top four.  Is that a good omen for what Ash might be able to accomplish?
ALICIA MOLIK:  Yeah.  I remember that tie.  It was against Argentina in Canberra.  I was at that tie.  Jelena was younger than me.  I was part of the squad.  I think the orange girl was naturally on the team.
So being the older player I watched her.  And Leslie Bowrey was the captain.
But Jelena was ready.  I don't think it comes down really to age.  It comes down to how I think developed a player is and how ready they are.
Gosh, Ash is ready, absolutely, to play Fed Cup.  That's why she's in the team.  That's why Nicole Bradtke and I decided to select her.
Tennis doesn't boil, as we see on men's tennis and women's tennis, doesn't boil down to age.  I don't think that's a great indication at all.  And form is a big part of who gets to play.
The two women sitting here alongside me are in top form.  I think Sam, she's having a great preparation with Dave in Sydney.  Jarka also.  She's still going in tournament.  Can't forget the mixed doubles.
So a lot of our team members are playing quality matches leading into the tie, and the Czech team, not so much.  So I think we've got the combinations to win.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

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