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August 31, 2005

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Could you talk about the conditions out there in general.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, you know, the conditions were so tough out there, they were so tough, I don't actually know what to think (inaudible) how I played or how Lars played or anything like that. . I just consider it a victory getting out there and toughing it out and coming through the win.

Q. Toss wiggling around out there?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, everything was wiggling around, you know. Felt like the Leaning Tower Pisa out there sometimes. Yeah, you've got to make do and try and handle whatever anybody throws at you.

Q. Anybody that's watched television has seen you in that wonderful ad with the kid. You never got any recognition for it because your name didn't get mentioned. How is your commercial TV career taken off as a result of that?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, my name's out there. It's tough because I'm working so hard on the tennis court and spending so many hours there that my team is very inflexible, and that's not conducive to making TV commercials.

Q. Any nibbles?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, you know, I try and stay out of it. I let IMG take care of that, Ollie. That's their job. So I say I'm always interested if anything that sounds good that comes up, I'll be more than happy to do it.

Q. Had you fun doing that commercial?

TAYLOR DENT: I had a great team. It's a very interesting process. They went all out on the commercial. That was my first one. I was just asking around, "Is this normal or not?" They said, no; they just went all out. It was like a movie production. I spent two 13-hour days out there. Literally my active time doing the commercial was probably 20 minutes each day. It was just amazing how long it took them to set up each shot and make sure the lighting was good. It was interesting. I'd like to do it again.

Q. You did a superb job of looking pissed off at this kid. How did you do that?

TAYLOR DENT: A lot of takes. A lot of takes. They asked me to look so many different ways. Even a hack like me can get it sooner or later.

Q. Do you have any aspirations to be an actor?

TAYLOR DENT: No, not at all. Not at all. I would not want to put any producers or anything through that kind of headaches.

Q. You say they asked you to look a lot of different ways. What kind of different ways did they ask you to look?

TAYLOR DENT: They were telling me to do different stuff. Be angry, be furious. Different words to try and get the look they wanted out of me.

Q. What was your reaction to Andy's loss yesterday, and in general, if you could speak for the American player, what that means here, how disappointing is it?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, it's a shame. Obviously all the hype with Andy coming in here, this was his tournament. Even though Federer's the No. 1 seed, he's the guy to beat, you know, Andy was kind of the hot kid coming in here. It's a bummer for the tournament that he lost. But that's men's tennis. I mean, unfortunately it's just so deep. Anybody can lose on any given day. I didn't see the match, but I heard Gilles just played extremely solid. It's a shame. You know, it happens.

Q. Patrick McEnroe recently criticized your conditioning, then you couldn't play that final in Indianapolis. Do you have an image problem or a fitness problem?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I don't know whether I should answer that question (smiling). I don't really react too much to what, you know, Patrick McEnroe says and Jim Courier says. I think they kind of see what they want to see sometimes. I've had discussions with a few people about why I lose matches. They seem to be the expert on my tennis, seeing me play one or two matches a year. I don't know. I find that a bit humorous. You know, there's always a second side to the story for me being tired in Indianapolis. You know, just leave it at that.

Q. The second side?

TAYLOR DENT: The second side is that I went into the tournament having no confidence. I was warming up before every match for over an hour, and after every match I was going out and practicing for an hour and a half working my butt off so I would actually play good tennis. If you add that up, that's more than playing a Grand Slam in five, six days. I woke up and I was absolutely fried.

Q. Do you think he was making those comments to try and light a fire under you?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, if he did, then he doesn't really know my personality that much. I'm pretty tough on myself. I spend as much time working on my game and on my tennis - everything - fitness, as my body will allow me to. If someone criticizes me, then I kind of go the other way with that person. I'm so tough on myself, I don't need the extra added pressure and beat-down from somebody else.

Q. So it's an image problem.

TAYLOR DENT: I have to work twice as hard to get rid of it. I'm working hard. It's a shame that Jim Courier and Patrick McEnroe haven't seen that yet. But, you know, that just means I have to work harder so they have no excuse but to just say something else.

Q. You're now one of two seeded American players in the men's draw at the US Open. What kind of a burden does that carry?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, no burden. Whether I'm seeded or unseeded, I'm here really to play good tennis and to hopefully win matches. You know, I think the seeds don't really mean much, especially for me, because my game, you know, it's tough. I have to get out there and execute well. If I do, you know, I like my chances every match I play. You know, it's no more pressure than normal coming in here.

Q. Is this win favorable for a guy who is a good volleyer out there?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I've played a few times in the wind this year. It seem as little tougher because I have less time to react to the ball moving around. If I don't really stick a volley, then the ball is just sitting up and these guys get to tee off. You know, I guess there could be arguments either way. But it feels like I have less time to react to the changes in the flight of the ball.

Q. How precise can an opponent be on a ball?

TAYLOR DENT: It's tough for him too. There's no denying that it's tough for both people out there. But I don't know. My opinion is he just has a little bit more time to adjust before the ball gets to him than I do.

Q. When you beat Coria, your game was right there. How close are you right now?

TAYLOR DENT: I've been practicing extremely well. As good as that, if not better actually. I'm very close. I just have to do it on a daily basis. One day is extremely good, one day is mediocre, average. It kind of changes every day. I just have to spend a lot of time on the tennis court practicing to keep rising my worst spot of my game.

Q. On a day like this, conditions aren't good, you just figure slop through it, get through the match?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, my tendency is to beat myself up. But I think I have to let myself off the hook today because it was so tough. It was tough for both of us. It's a grind out there in these conditions.

Q. Are you still coach-less?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I'm still coach-less, if you don't consider me and my buddies my coach. But, no, like I said, we really understand where my game needs to get better for me to win big tournaments on a consistent basis. Now it's just a matter of putting that into practice. We've been doing that for six months or so, nine months. Hopefully we'll see the results sooner or later.

Q. Every time that commercial we've been talking about airs, do you receive royalties?

TAYLOR DENT: I'm not aware of the full details of the deal. I believe I receive something small. I did it for very inexpensive because it was such great exposure. I got more exposure out of that commercial than anything I've ever done in tennis. It was actually funny. I did something for the ATP Stars Program where I was fishing in Australia off the dock. We pulled some pregutted fish out of the water. I'm holding it up like that. I got more exposure for those two dumb little things than for anything I've ever done in tennis.

Q. Do you fish?

TAYLOR DENT: No, not a fisherman.

Q. How popular are you in Australia?

TAYLOR DENT: How popular am I? It just depends on who you ask. I have some people that are bitter that I didn't play Davis Cup for Australia, and some people who respect my decision and respect me being half Australian through my father. I get some hecklers out there, but I get a lot of support, too.

Q. Did you ever seriously consider it? Were you flattered by the attention?

TAYLOR DENT: I was flatter and didn't want to rush any decisions right away. I never do, even if it seems to be an easy decision. But there really wasn't much to decide in the end. The US has done so much for my tennis, has been behind me a hundred percent of the way. So, like I said, it was a no-brainer in the end.

Q. There's been a perceived struggle in the popularity of American tennis. With only two seeds left, how important do you think it is from your perspective as one of those guys getting to the top tier, how important is it in your eyes to have another American up there and also the rivalry that will ensue because of having more Americans in the top tier?

TAYLOR DENT: I think it's huge. I think it's everything. You can't tell me that if me, Andy, Robby, James, Mardy Fish, you know, a whole bunch of young American guys were in the top 10, that tennis wouldn't be huge in America. We are working so hard to get there. We want it for many, many reasons, and that being one of them. We want tennis to be huge in the States. I want to have a rivalry with Andy. I want that. That would be fun. I'm working hard, and hopefully sooner than later it will happen.

Q. Those names you just mentioned have the daunting task of following a generation. Do you ever feel burdened or victimized by the guys you followed, the benchmark they set?

TAYLOR DENT: Not at all. Not at all. You know, it's a shame that they were so good. But tennis was so big in the States because of them. I played tennis because of those guys. There's a whole bunch of kids that are a little bit younger that are playing tennis because of Andy. You can't really fault those guys for being so good. We just have to try and step up and be a little bit better, just keep moving the bar up a little bit.

Q. You talked about being hard on yourself. What is your most memorable racquet smash?

TAYLOR DENT: I see just a flurry, a plethora of imaging go through my head, to be honest with you. You know what, actually I can think of one. There was a challenger down in San Diego. I lost to a Puerto Rican guy or a Venezuelan guy. I can't remember his name. Maurice something.

Q. Ruah.

TAYLOR DENT: Lost to him, played a pretty bad match. Made him hit like three balls the whole match. It was great. Walk off the court. Line up all my racquets on a tree. One after another, six in a row, until there was nothing left. Then I just went and left them there, I'll see you later, see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts….

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