February 9, 2019
M. KEYS/K. Birrell
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Kim, I know you played a couple of top 20 players, Kerber and Kasatkina. What makes Madison tough as an opponent?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: I think there's a real difference between top 100 players, top 50 players, then the next tier up. There's a real difference in the weight of shot. You just get very few opportunities. When you do get one, you really have to take it because you never know when you're going to get another one.
Yeah, obviously Maddie played really well today. She's been inside the top 20 for a long time now. She goes deep in slams. There's a reason for that. I think she's a really great player.
Yeah, I think she's played really well today. I did as best as I could. But yeah, the weight behind her shot was definitely different to anything I've really felt before. I'm just going to take it as another experience.
Q. Alicia, you got a good look at Madison. She's playing really well. Ash played well today. What do you expect for their matchup tomorrow?
CAPTAIN MOLIK: Ash and Keys?
CAPTAIN MOLIK: I think they're both going to really push and stretch each other. You have two big hitters, heavy ball strikers. I think that's the first thing that stands out. We know Ash well for her differences in her game, the way she mixes it up. It's a ball strikers' court. It's pretty slow, as Kim experienced.
I think they're going to bring out the best in each other. That's what you want day two, the No. 1's going at it. It's going to be really interesting.
Q. Alicia, can you assess today, how it went.
CAPTAIN MOLIK: Yeah, I'm happy. I'm happy to go into Sunday 1-All. I think it's a real credit to Kim today. At the moment she's disappointed, and I think it just goes to show the type of character she is, the future she has in the sense she expected a lot of herself today. The fact she's disappointed I think is a good thing because it helps you for the future. She's going to get so many more opportunities down the track.
But I couldn't be happier actually going into day two 1-All. I think it's a good position to be in. I think what we have is a really good -- we always plan and prepare for the fifth rubber, meaning that it's a doubles rubber. I think we've got a really quality team.
Q. I asked Kathy earlier about momentum. She said, We have momentum, of course it matters, we have the momentum.
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: It's 1-All (laughter).
Q. How much do you feel that carries over match to match and day to day? Does it have an effect out there?
CAPTAIN MOLIK: No, I don't think it matters for tomorrow. There's two matches today. One team won one, one team won the other one. I don't see much difference there.
I think the good thing is, both teams have had a really good look at each other under pressure, playing on this court. You guys, it's your home-court advantage. A lot is expected of your players. There's a lot riding on the shoulders of Keys. She's the star of your team. She plays Ash tomorrow. I think there's a lot of expectation on her.
Q. Kim, a word on the crowd, how they impacted the match, how you felt they were able to get behind Keys.
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: For sure, as Alicia just said, there's a real advantage in playing at home. The crowd was really loud. But we were expecting that. It always is a different kind of noise. It's very loud, especially when people are cheering for their country, I feel like. Everyone really wants to see their country win. We were expecting that.
Even though we didn't have a lot of people wearing green and gold in the crowd, our team was there. We had a lot of support from home. I definitely knew that going into today.
So, yeah, I've had some experience playing in front of crowds now. I think I was able to block that out pretty well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports