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March 28, 2005

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Dent. We're open for questions.

Q. When you woke up this morning and saw how windy it was, what were you thinking?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't really like the wind that much. I think it's tough. It really affects serves, and it's tough to adjust on the volleys, and those are some of the -- those are the two biggest parts of my game. So I don't generally like the wind. But, you know, everybody has to play in it, and I think you just got to tough it out. You know, that's what happened today. There was a couple shots there I thought I should have put away, didn't because of the wind. Same thing for him. So, you know, that's just the way it goes.

Q. You looked like the favorite out there. You came out aggressive. Talk about your mindset.

TAYLOR DENT: You know, it's just the way I play. I feel like if I execute my game, I'm going to give anybody in the world a handful of trouble. So, you know, that's just kind of the mindset I go out there with in every match. That's what happened today, I just happened to be executing from the start. I was hitting the spots on my serve, sticking my volleys, and making him play a lot of balls from the baseline, which was, you know, all good for me. So, you know, good stuff.

Q. You did a really good job running down those dropshots. Were you reading his dropshot, or are you just moving better than you were last year? Especially the break at the end, you ran down a tough dropshot.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, that one I kind of felt coming. I felt like in the course of the match he burned me a couple times on the dropshot and he thought that was the way to win points. Yeah, that instance, I was guessing, started running before he hit the ball. But I think it's a combination. Sometimes you read the shot. I've been getting faster and lighter, so, you know, it could be a combination of things.

Q. What have you done to get faster and lighter? Was that a concerted effort you made during what little you have of an off-season?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, absolutely. It's always, for me - I mean, everybody's different - but for me it's always an effort to lose weight, get quicker. I don't really spend much time in the gym, although I'm going to start just to prevent injuries. I'm going to do it for that reason. I would just do a lot of sprinting and movement stuff to get used to moving these 200 pounds around the court.

Q. You had to make a big run late in the second set to get to a dropshot, then hit a very acute-angled backhand crosscourt for the winner. Were you feeling exhilarated after hitting that?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, yeah, I liked that one. I liked that one. That was good. But I remember missing one two games later just by that much, so...

Q. The one you got.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, the one I got was good. It's always nice to, you know, beat the South Americans and the Spaniards in their own little games, they love those little short court games.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TAYLOR DENT: I had a lot of short forehands today that I, you know, probably could have hit a little bit better. But, God, he's so fast. He's so quick just right after the shot, you know, the first step after the shot. It just seems like he's never really recovering, he's already recovered. I think as far as, you know, going on the run, you know, there's guys as fast as him, but he was out of the hole really quick.

Q. You started talking about your sprint regimen. Did you get to the point where you realized for your game you have to be quick, fast? What were some of the things you did to work on that?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, as far as my game, I think, you know, I had some of my best results when I was actually my heaviest and arguably my slowest weight. For my game, for me to be successful, the bottom line is I have to be serving well, hitting the spots on my serves, and volleying very firm. That's just the bottom line. If I'm holding serve, I'm going to eke out a break here and there. But having said that, you can't argue that me getting faster doesn't make the game easier; I mean, it's going to make the game easier. So that's just what I was doing. Every chance I'd get, I'd go to my trainer, he'd just have me run from cone to cone until I collapsed.

Q. What was your heaviest?

TAYLOR DENT: Heaviest, actually, was during the US Open when I had to retire against Agassi, and then I go out and win those two tournaments. I was 216.

Q. Now you're...

TAYLOR DENT: 200. I fluctuate like between 195, 200.

Q. How would you rate your serve today?

TAYLOR DENT: Serve was very good. Serve was very good. A lot depends on my second serve. Today I felt like I won a lot of high percentage of those points. If I'm winning, you know, close to 60, hopefully over 60% of my second serve points, then I'm going to be very tough to beat. I'd give it a seven or eight. I mean, it was good serving today.

Q. You've obviously proved that you could beat Top 10 players. What will it take to put together a string of wins?

REPLACE NAME: Yeah, just that. Just making sure that I'm not throwing away games on my serve. That's what happens when I lose matches, is I hit a lot of double faults, guys just get the ball back and I'm missing volleys, you know, just kind of giving them games. It's easy to do playing a serve and volley style tennis. But I'm working as hard as anybody can work to try and tighten that up and to get that aspect out of my game, and I feel like I'm getting closer to that. I'm not quite there yet, but I feel like I'm getting closer to it.

Q. You've never had much luck here. Did you come into this tournament thinking this is the year?

TAYLOR DENT: I never really think that. That's too much pressure, I think, for anybody. I always go into any tournament knowing that I can do well if I go out there and just stay focused, don't get too emotional out there, and just worry about my game. You know, that's the same here.

Q. Obviously, you and Tim Henman are kind of the serve-and-volleyers out there that we can note. He's found a consistency throughout his career. Have you talked to him a little bit about how he's been able to maybe hold his game back at certain times or get some hints on that?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't -- I actually used to talk a lot to some of the guys like Rafter, I talked a little bit to. I talked a little bit to, you know, my dad played. It all comes down to them saying the same thing - it's just consistency and execution, being mentally tough out there. Just because you know that's what you need doesn't mean you're going to get it. It's just a matter of going out there and practicing and practicing and practicing until you feel confident in the fact that you can do it down 30-40, 4-5 in the fifth set or the third set. Just getting that confidence to know that you can do this every point.

Q. What kind of an advantage do you think you and Tim have in the game because you bring a rare brand of play to the game?

TAYLOR DENT: I think it's just that, just what you said. Not many guys play the way we play. I think Tim's kind of tamed down his serving and volleying a little bit over the past few years; he's staying back and hitting some big forehands. But, yeah, not many guys play like we do. They're not used to seeing some guy chip and charge off second serves, or hit slice backhands from the baseline, or come in, you know, after second serves. So it's pretty much the biggest advantage we have, is you just don't see it.

Q. Why don't you see it, and why does it take longer to develop that game?

TAYLOR DENT: I think because if you're a baseliner and you're having a bad day, you can pretty much just bring in the reigns a little bit - hit a bit, you know, clear the net a bit more, hit a bit more spin, and grind a little bit harder, you know, work a little bit harder for your points. But if you're a serve-and-volleyer and you're having a bad day, those games go by fast. You're missing serves, guys are hitting good returns, you're missing volleys. Games just start flying by. And there's nothing you can do if you're a serve-and-volleyer, you just got to put your head down and keep grinding away.

Q. What's the good part of it?

TAYLOR DENT: The good part is it's a very dominating game. If you're playing well, there's not much guys can do about it. You're serving well, they're trying to fight returns back and you're coming in, knocking off a volley. I've had guys come up to me before after the match and saying, "I'm not even mad I lost, there's nothing I could do."

Q. Is that the type of game that gets harder as you get older? It seems a lot more physical.

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. For me, it's a give-and-take. You know, it's a give-and-take because you are a little bit more explosive, but you play shorter points. You only play one- and two-ball rallies. Whereas if you're from the baseline, it's not quite as explosive, but you're running a little bit more. It's a give-and-take.

Q. You seem very composed and even-keeled. Is that just your nature?

TAYLOR DENT: That's the way I've tried to become over the years. If you would have seen me play when I was younger, maybe a few years ago, I would be throwing my racquet everywhere and kicking and cursing and all that sort of stuff. So it's an effort to get out there and try and just stay, you know, mellow and focused.

Q. How is your coach-sharing arrangement going with Robby Ginepri?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, it's going well. Robby and I get along great. Francisco is a great guy. It's fun. It's fun. I'm pretty low-maintenance. I don't need too much. I just get out there and I do my thing. I'm a pretty hard worker, so I don't need too much encouragement to get out there. So it's pretty good.

Q. When you and Robby are playing different events at the same time, who gets the coach? Do you toss a coin?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, the way it is, we just swap tournaments. I went to Europe earlier this year to play a couple indoor tournaments, and Francisco stayed with Robby here. I just brought my buddy who helps me out a bit when Francisco is not around. Yeah, you know, again, I'm pretty low-maintenance.

Q. Is this a long-term arrangement, this coach sharing?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, yeah. You never know what happens in the future. But, yeah, as far as I can see, it's bound to stay.

Q. Are you a chess player?

TAYLOR DENT: I love chess. I love chess. I read a few chess books. I'm not very good, but -- see, it's funny. I read a couple chess books and I finally realized how bad I was. But I love playing.

Q. Are you rated?

TAYLOR DENT: No, I haven't gotten that serious into it yet. I just really love the strategy of the game.

Q. When your serves are hitting their spots and your shots are falling where you want them to like today, does it feel like, "Gosh, why can't I play like this all the time?" Do you have the feeling of, "Why can't it be this way all the time"?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, you know, I know that it can be that way eventually, and that's what I'm working towards. I've thought that in the past, but I just understand that I haven't got that, you know, consistency yet. It's not like I can flip on a switch if I've never had it, you know. Trying to think of an example is when like I'd be practicing a while ago and my, you know -- I'd play one good service game out of four or something like that, and my dad would say, "Now why can't you play like that every game?" I would say, "Well, what are you talking about?" I'm playing like that 20% of the time. That's the exception. We have to make it the other way, where the bad games are the exception. I don't know if that made any sense at all, but, you know, it's kind of been the other way, and I'm working towards keeping it this way.

Q. Do you attribute the lack of consistency you've had - a big win followed by maybe a disappointing loss - to fitness, to mental lapse, to what?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. It probably depends who you ask. If you ask me, it's not really fitness. Fitness doesn't play a huge, huge factor in my game, I believe. I believe it's just execution. As far as mentally goes, I'm pretty tough mentally. I mean, I stay out there. If I'm having a bad day, I'll stick it out. I'll fight hard. And, you know, I played Andy a couple years ago at the Australian Open where I could not find the court. I stayed out there hoping for the best, fought hard. But it's just, you know, I compare it to like one of my dad's lessons. A young kid, let's say 12 years old. Dad's feeding him forehands. The kid's just hitting the fence, ball after ball. Dad doesn't say a word. Feeds him another shot, and then the kid rips like a cold, clean winner. Perfect ball. It's just like that, you know. The kid just doesn't have the consistency. That's what I compare myself to. I just don't have that consistency. I'm getting closer - almost there.

Q. When you get up in the morning, can you tell what kind of day you might be having?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, not at all. Not at all. I've had matches where I've gone out there, warmed up in the morning, stellar warm-up, can't miss a ball. Gone out and couldn't hit one in the court for the match, and vice versa. So who knows...

End of FastScripts….

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