TENNIS comeback girl Alicia Molik says she “couldn’t be happier”, which is understandable seeing she just got engaged and has won three tournaments in six weeks.
Speaking to the media on Friday, the 28-year-old didn’t go into great detail about her husband-to-be, but his name’s Tim Sullivan and he’s from Perth. They met last year, and Alicia moved from Melbourne to be closer to him earlier this year.
“It’s a real milestone in my life,” she said. “I think (it is) probably the most important and significant event and achievement you could call it too. So I’ve been a really happy girl.”
It may just have helped her tennis too. After retiring from the sport in September 2008 due to persistent injuries, the former world number eight is back and looks set to qualify for Australian Open in January 2010.
She picked up a racquet again in March then started playing professional tournaments again throughout regional Australia in October. She has already won three tournaments – in Darwin, Bendigo, and Kalgoorlie.
Seven weeks ago, Molik was ranked outside the top 1,000 in the world. She’s now inside the top 200.
“My priority is to get into all the grand slams next year,” Molik said. “I’m sitting 198 or 199 (in the world) at present time so I think it would be an achievable goal that I played in each grand slam next year, main draw. I still have to play some pretty good tennis to make the top 100.
“I guess the sport feels fresh again. (I’ve) just had so many injuries for so long to be honest it gets you down physically, it gets you down mentally.
“You go through phases of enjoyment as well. I think all I really needed was a good break, I guess it was just a bit of long service leave in the end. A good five, six months out of the game really freshened me up.”
Molik’s quest to qualify for Australian Open begins officially next week with the round robin section of qualifying.
Molik said she was determined to qualify in her own right, rather than be handed a wildcard to her home grand slam by tournament officials.
“There’s no point giving away spots to the Australian Open, I think everyone really needs to prove themselves and earn their position,” Molik said.
“You feel that much better stepping out onto whatever court it is, Rod Laver, Court 17… you feel so much better about yourself having earned it.
“My goal going into summer was to accumulate close to 40 matches so after the play off next week I should be around that number or just over.
“I’ve put in the work since March so my body and fitness and strength hasn’t really been an issue. I’m right where I’d like to be but again (I’ve got) one more week to prove myself.”
Molik’s first match in Australian Open qualifying is on Monday.