Struggling Molik refusing to give up
August 27, 2007 - 2:25PM
Alicia Molik has vowed to continue the fight to resurrect her once flourishing career regardless of how she fares at the US Open starting on Monday.
Struggling for confidence after reaching just one quarter-final in 2007, Molik opens against Slovenia's 22nd seed Katarina Srebotnik on Tuesday (Wednesday morning AEST).
Australia's former world No.8 has slumped to 69th in the rankings, having gone six grand slams without progressing beyond the third round since returning in May last year from 13 months out battling a career-threatening illness.
Although Molik dominated Srebotnik in their first three meetings, all played on a hard court, the Melbourne-based 26-year-old will start as a decided underdog as she tries to end a two-year run of first-round exits at Flushing Meadows.
Not that the easygoing Molik is concerned.
"She's certainly the kind of player that I feel like I can expose," Molik said.
"She serves okay, she returns exceptionally well - that's probably the strength in her game. But if I have to match up my strengths to hers, I feel like I do have a lot more weapons than her.
"The key is to use them at the right time. I'm going to need to mix my spin up a lot on my serve. She loves the pace so I have to resist just going for big bombs."
Molik said she was still lacking the self-belief that came naturally when she was "winning five or six matches a week, whether that be singles or doubles or both" at the height of her career.
"In the last year, I haven't won a hell of a lot of matches. I'll say that," Molik said.
"Now I guess I'm doing a lot better in doubles but confidence grows when you are winning matches and you know exactly what to do at those critical moments in a match.
"Now sometimes I'm out on the court and a few too many things go through my head."
But the former Australian Open quarter-finalist refuses to throw in the towel and concentrate on the easy money on the doubles circuit.
Despite winning the French Open doubles trophy this year with Italian partner Mara Santangelo and reaching the mixed doubles final at Wimbledon with Swede Jonas Bjorkman, Molik ruled out ever giving up singles to focus purely on the team game, a path many a fading player has followed.
"Absolutely not. I've never thought down that track," Molik said.
"I enjoy singles too much and I enjoy playing all events - I'm playing singles, doubles and mixed here - but singles has always been my priority and it will always be my priority.
"I see doubles as an addition to my singles. Even though I'm having a lot more success at it at the moment, I feel it's just a matter of time really before the tide turns.
"I'm certainly not happy with being ranked 50 or 60, but rankings aren't something that I pay too much attention too.
"I said at the start of the year that I wanted to be in the 20s or 30s. That's a difficult task between now and December.
"But with the type of player I am and the arsenal that I do have, I feel like it's definitely achievable."