Beijing lures Molik
12th December 2007, 9:45 WST
Forget the Australian Open, Wimbledon or Roland Garros - Alicia Molik’s main focus next year will be Beijing.
While many tennis professionals are indifferent at best about the Olympics, Molik is a massive fan of the Games.
She won a bronze medal in the singles four years ago and is determined to make the Australian team again for next year’s Olympics.
“It (playing in the Olympics) probably means more than anything to me - Athens was probably the highlight of my career, so that’s a good indication of my feeling towards Beijing,” she said.
“It’s not too often that you’re a part of the Olympics and still my position isn’t guaranteed, but it’s something I’m shooting for, obviously.
“I had the time of my life in Athens.
“It’s always a really fun time, as much as it is a challenging one - it’s something I’m really, really looking forward to, more than anything in 2008.”
Molik attended an Australian Olympic Committee processing session in Melbourne today, where prospective team members were measured for their uniforms and were briefed on Games preparations.
She said it was a pleasant change from the normal grind of the professional tennis circuit to be in a team environment at the Olympics and also relished the chance to watch a number of other sports.
Should Molik go to Beijing as a competitor, she will familiarise herself with the Australian handbook and make sure she watches as many events as her own competition schedule will allow.
“Tennis is an individual sport, I travel the entire year by myself or with a coach,” Molik said.
“You’re competing for yourself, by yourself, with yourself, training by yourself and so for those two weeks, you’re part of a team.
“I normally have a very busy schedule around Olympics time - it’s something that as tennis players we never get to experience, a team environment.
“Sport is more my passion than tennis, if that makes sense, I’m an avid sports watcher.”
Molik is pleased with her preparations for the upcoming season as she works with new coach Nicole Bradtke.
They are training extensively on the new blue surface at Melbourne Park.
She will play in the Hopman Cup and the Sydney International before competing at the Australian Open, where she made the quarter-finals two years ago.
Molik has since overcome a debilitating balance problem and steadily improved her international ranking to 56 after dropping outside the top 100.
“As far as preparations go, I will probably have as much, if not more, court time (on the surface) than a lot of the competitors at the Australian Open,” she said.
“I like it - the Athens blue looks nice here in Melbourne and it’s a good contrast, you really pick the ball up very well.
“It’s just a different surface, it will suit me as much - I like the ball bouncing up pretty high, getting under the ball and using my spin and speed.”