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Molik enjoys the attention

From our wire services(Fox sport aussie website)
29 June 01

News Interactive

ALICIA MOLIK earned almost as much attention for her form on her daunting first trip to the centre court of Wimbledon as for the short skirt she picked for the outing.

And in the circumstances, that was an encouraging result for the Adelaide 20-year-old.

Molik had drawn her first meeting with powerful American Lindsay Davenport, whose status as third seed and 1999 champion led organisers to schedule their meeting for the cathedral of tennis stadiums.

It added up to an occasion which would intimidate most her age, and the 70th-ranked Molik was not expected to do well.

But, having taken time to sample the atmosphere of the arena for the first time the previous night, and having practiced her curtsy to the royal box, she made Davenport fully earn her 6-4 6-2 win.

Molik's defeat ended the involvement of Australian women at the second round, but she was still guaranteed publicity, as the media zoomed in on the short, stretchy white skirt, which barely covered her matching pants.

The ball started rolling when former great John McEnroe, commentating on television, said Molik looked to be hampered by her skirt because it was so tight.

And that was enough for the British tabloids, who bereft of an injured Anna Kournikova to drool over this Wimbledon swooped on "leggy blonde" Molik afterwards.

Bemused by the attention, Molik explained she had a longer dress but that it was dirty, but she insisted her garb had not hindered her play.

"He (McEnroe) should put one on himself and see how comfortable they are," she joked.

All in all, it transpired as a polished press conference performance from Molik, in the glare of more such questions, and follow-ups such as whether of not she had a boyfriend. She cooly revealed, in fluent tabloidese, only that he was "the mystery man from Ireland".

And that was symbolic of how she handled her whole afternoon.

On court, she only conceded three points in her first three service games, but dropped her serve the fourth time.

This saw her serving to stay in the set at 3-5, and she fought off three break and set points before Davenport served out for 6-4.

The cracks started to open, with two early breaks against her in the second, but overall Molik was content with how she had handled her occasion, saying her decision to pay a visit to centre court the previous night had helped.

"I stepped out yesterday evening to see what it was like, and soak it up a bit," said Molik, who watched the Williams sisters in a doubles match.

"I felt comfortable on the court. It felt like a very welcoming court. It's nice, it's small, it's cute.

"I think I was most nervous about the curtsy. I practised it in the locker room before I went out there."

While the last Aussie woman said farewell, former Australian Jelena Dokic continued into the third round with a 6-2 6-4 defeat of American Jenny Hopkins.

Dokic, now a Yugoslav, crashed out in the third round at the French Open to Petra Mandula when seeded for the first time in a grand slam.