Happy 30th, Alicia!

Australia's super-popular Alicia Molik is celebrating a milestone birthday today.

Published January 26, 2011 08:58

Happy 30th, Alicia!
Alicia Molik

MELBOURNE, Australia - Alicia Molik, one of the most successful and popular Aussie players of the past decade - plain to see amid the excitement that surrounded her first round win over Roberta Vinci at the Australian Open last week - celebrates her 30th birthday on January 27.

Former world No.8 Molik initially left the game in September 2008, nagging leg and elbow problems taking their toll. But after playing the first match of her comeback in doubles at New Haven in August 2009, she knuckled down to an exhaustive and successful ITF Circuit assault in Australia.

Back on tour in 2010, she scored wins over the likes of Zheng Jie and Anabel Medina Garrigues, her best result being a last 16 showing at Indian Wells.

In April, shortly after she returned to the Top 100, Molik helped restore Australia to the Fed Cup's elite eight nation World Group for the first time since 2004. Occupying the No.3 singles slot behind Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Rodionova against Ukraine in Kharkiv, Molik beat Mariya Koryttseva in one of the reverse singles matches, contributing to the eventual 5-0 whitewash.

Though not selected to the playing squad for next month's first round tie against Italy in Hobart (her current ranking is No.134), Molik has indicated her willingness to be there to serve as a hitting partner and supporter. Until then she'll be kept busy as part of Australian Open host broadcaster Seven's expert commentary team.

Before her 'long service leave' from the game Molik won five WTA singles titles, most notably at Zürich in 2004, where she beat Maria Sharapova in the final, but also at home in Hobart and Sydney (defeating Sam Stosur for the trophy).

She owns two Grand Slam doubles titles, the Australian Open in 2005 (with Svetlana Kuznetsova) and the French Open in 2007 (with Mara Santangelo), and beat then-world No.3 Anastasia Myskina for the singles bronze medal at the Athens Olympics.

Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based Molik is set to marry Tim Sullivan at a Yarra Valley winery next month, but says she has no plans to hang up her racquet just yet. Nor, she says, will 'Mol' be changing her name.

''Look, it's who I am. It's what I've been. It's all I know. It's what I respond to. Yeah, it's just me.''

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