$25,000 Darwin 1 - On court interview with Alicia Molik
Alicia Molik, a former World No. 8, has entered ITF Pro Circuit tournaments spread across Australia over the next few months as she looks to refresh her appetite for competing at the highest level. The first took place last week in Darwin, which was host to the inaugural Northern Territory Women’s Tennis International tournament.
Having been awarded a Wild Card into the singles Main Draw, Molik made a triumphant start to her return to the ITF Pro Circuit as she claimed the Women’s Singles and Doubles crowns.
Molik steadily made her way through the draw with wins over British 6th seed Emily Webley-Smith (61 62), Australian 17-year old Isabella Holland (64 75), 4th seed Ayu-Fani Damayanti from Indonesia (62 62) and New Zealand's 7th seed Sacha Jones (61 62) before taking on the tournament’s surprise package, Australian star-in-the-making, Sally Peers in the final.
A 63 64 victory over Peers gave Molik her first singles title since a triumph in a WTA tournament in Doha back in February 2005, adding to the doubles title won earlier in the tournament when Molik had teamed up with Australia's Nicole Kriz to win the doubles crown 63 64 over Tyra Calderwood and Olivia Rogowska.
Despite her loss in the singles final, Peers could also claim to have had a wonderful week after reaching her first ITF Pro Circuit final which included ousting the top seed Olivia Rogowska in the semi final 76(3) 75.
A large and enthusiastic crowd watched an excellent singles final in very warm conditions. The Northern Territory Government has made a long term commitment to the sport with a second ITF Pro Circuit tournament taking place at the same venue this week, and with a three year long term deal already having been struck, professional tennis has certainly made a welcome return to the Northern Territory.
After the match Molik attributed her decision to return to tennis simply through rekindling her love for the sport, being able to make herself injury free and by finding a way to balance playing with involvement with all levels of the game having captained Australian Junior National teams earlier in the year.
Alicia is certainly a popular player and her presence on the ITF Pro Circuit will no doubt create a lot of interest in the upcoming events on the Australian circuit which next week moves from the Northern Territory to South Australia. This is followed with tournaments in Western Australian and then the series ends in Victoria.