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March 13, 2005

Taylor Dent



Q. By looking at the score, who did you have playing for you the first set?

TAYLOR DENT: Who did I have playing for me? Well, it felt like my little brother was out there playing. My little brother probably would have made a better show of it. You know, first match after losing two first rounds, two tough first rounds. I lost to Ancic. Actually even the quarterfinal in Marseille, I had a match point against Lopez, 5-6 or 6-5 against Ancic, then 6 in the third against Arthurs. So it's a little bit tough to come out here. I was a little nervous. Got some fire under my, you know, whatever in the second and third sets. You know, played a lot better.

Q. How old is your little brother?

TAYLOR DENT: My little brother just turned nine in November. He's going to be a monster.

Q. What is his name?

TAYLOR DENT: His name is Breylor, B-r-e-y-l-o-r. He's going to be a monster. His father is like 6'5", 6'6". My mom is pretty tall. She's like 5'10", 5'11". Big kid. His feet are already like Shaq.

Q. Does he play?

TAYLOR DENT: No, he's kind of like I was when I was that age. He likes all the computer games and all that stuff. I get him out and play sports every so often. He doesn't like the competition factor too much.

Q. How do you think you were able to pull things together today? Was it a matter of working your way into it?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah. I mean, you know, there's definitely a bit of luck involved. But I just -- you know, I went out there, I was telling Francisco that I just went out there in cruise mode. That's fine if you're playing well and everything is rolling, but obviously it wasn't in the first set. So then I realized what was happening and really tried to fire myself up in any way possible. Then, you know, things just came together.

Q. Drawing the code violation, was that part of your method of firing yourself up?

TAYLOR DENT: I think that was probably just beforehand, just beforehand. That was just so much disappointment. I'd been threatening to break that thing the all the first set. I said, "Just do it, get it off your mind." You know, I did it. You know, like a couple points later, you know, I realized, "I'm going to have to really fire myself up here."

Q. Was there a discussion between yourself and Saulnier at the end of the match?

TAYLOR DENT: There was. There was just a little misunderstanding. You know, that happens in competition. I thought that he was cheering a couple of my bad shots which, you know, gets on players' nerves from time to time. It's stuff like double-faults and easy unforced errors. You know, I kind of was being a little sarcastic out there. Maybe I shouldn't have done it, maybe I should have. I don't know. But it was just a misunderstanding. After the match, you know, no hard feelings. He said it wasn't intended that way, and I said, "I'm sorry. I guess I just took it the wrong way."

Q. Was he like fist pumping?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't really want to get into it too much because it's not that big a deal. Just the last instance, it was, you know, I hit a second serve, he hit, you know, kind of a shank-ish return. I got a high pretty much sitter volley, and I missed it in the middle of the net pretty much. He gave it the fist pump and said, "Yes," or something along those lines. I said, "Great return." Being sarcastic, just letting him know that I wasn't happy with how he was handling a couple of my errors. But like I said, it's not a big deal. I don't really want to make a big deal out of it.

Q. Have you had a chance to see Andre, Andy and the Bryans since Davis Cup?

TAYLOR DENT: Yes, seen 'em all.

Q. What has that been like?

TAYLOR DENT: They just tell me, "Thanks for the great practice that week." No, we're all disappointed. We all talked about it there. In sports you have to have a short memory. It's water under the bridge. We're just, you know, getting ready for the next tie.

Q. We watched you through the Juniors, Kalamazoo. You were playing a game then. You have a job now. When did you realize it was no longer just playing a game, that you had a job?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, actually I think that's why I made up a lot of time when I was a kid. I started pretty late. I started when I was 11. You know, I saw my father coaching Chang in our backyard. You know, I said, "Wow, I want to do this. This is cool. This guy gets paid to hit balls, run around a bit. People come out and take pictures of him. He's given 50 racquets to try out." Pretty much when I started playing, I said, "I want this to be my job." I was doing two-a-days back then which nobody was doing around my area.

Q. How long did he coach Michael?

TAYLOR DENT: He coached Michael not for too long. I don't know the exact. I would be guessing. I don't think much longer than a year.

Q. Who is he working with these days?

TAYLOR DENT: He's helping Gimelstob out a little bit. He's with Anne Yelsey, who he's been coaching for a while. He might -- you know, he just does the local Juniors. So that's it.

Q. Talk about your next match.

TAYLOR DENT: Next match I believe I play the winner of Safin and?

Q. Nieminen.

TAYLOR DENT: Okay. Well, I played Nieminen a few times. I think he's got me, actually. I think he's up 2-1 or something like that. Last time he crushed me.

Q. Didn't he beat you in Beijing?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, he beat me badly in Beijing. I had a rough serving day. We'll forget about that one.

Q. Safin?

TAYLOR DENT: Then Safin, he's going to be tough. You know, they're both going to be tough. They both return well, and they're going to, you know, make a lot of balls in this hot weather, so it's going to be tough.

Q. What do you think of Carsten Ball deciding to become Australian and play for them?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, I don't really know. I don't want to stick my nose in where it doesn't belong.

Q. They made a pretty serious effort to try to get you to do the same thing a few years ago.

TAYLOR DENT: Absolutely. Obviously, Carsten and myself, we have very, very strong ties with Australia. Both of our dads are from Australia and have family back there. So, you know, it's understandable. I was put under a lot of pressure, mostly by myself a few years ago, January time, about playing Davis Cup. You know, I gave it some serious thought. For Carsten, who maybe thinks the USTA or US hasn't helped him as much as they helped me, he thinks maybe he'd get more help in Australia. Again, I don't want to stick my nose because I don't know the facts and the details.

Q. How good is he?

TAYLOR DENT: I think he's very talented. He's actually doing surprisingly well considering how much he's grown over the past little bit. I know I had a growth spurt and, wow, I could hit balls anywhere. I still can, but even more so then. He's very talented. He's a lefty. He's very loosey-goosey. He'll be fun to watch if he develops nicely.

Q. Did you and Carsten talk? Did Syd and your father talk about that at all?

TAYLOR DENT: Again, see, I have less information than you guys probably do. My dad might have talked to Syd. I don't know. But Carsten definitely didn't talk to me or Syd didn't talk to me, so.

Q. You just didn't want to be an orange boy?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I know, what's wrong with being Orange County boy? I don't know.

Q. James Blake had a nice win. Nice to see him getting back into the groove?

TAYLOR DENT: Absolutely. No, it's good to see.

Q. Did you see any of his match?

TAYLOR DENT: I didn't see any of his match. I'm not a big fan of hanging out and watching tennis when I'm actually in the tournament. I try and, you know, lay low, conserve all my energy. I have a pretty explosive game and I need all of it out there. If it's on TV, I'll watch it. If not, then I'll probably miss it.

Q. Do you get mentally fried from watching too much?

TAYLOR DENT: No, not so much that. It's just nice to put the feet up at the end of the day, get the blood out. Sitting down in the chairs all day, the blood just kind of goes down there, they feel pretty lethargic. I like to get back in the room, put the feet up, walk around a bit if I can, take it easy in that sense.

Q. Do you think it's important for the Americans to do well here after Davis Cup, the ones who were at the tie last weekend?

TAYLOR DENT: I've said this before. I think it's important to do well every week for your confidence and your psyche. I think the only person in the history of tennis that that didn't apply to was Pete Sampras. You know, he could go out and lose first round to Mark Kyle in Queen's, I think it was 6-6, something like that, and two weeks later go out and win Wimbledon. That's a true story. It just didn't affect him that much. But I think a lot of these guys these days -- maybe Federer is the same. But a lot of guys these days need the confidence to do well pretty much most weeks they play.

Q. Can you talk about the state of American tennis now with Andre getting up in years. Is there a need for you and Mardy and James to step up?

TAYLOR DENT: I think that American tennis right now is extremely strong around, you know, 30, 40, 50 in the rankings. We're very strong. We got a lot of players in there, a lot of players threatening to be there. But, you know, the American public definitely wants guys in the top one (laughter). So, you know, we're working hard. That's what we're doing. Believe me, we want it as much if not more than any American tennis fan. So, you know, if it's possible, one of us is going to do it.

Q. The USTA is considering or just looking at the possibility of asking Americans who have gotten assistance from the USTA, after they've made a million in prize winnings, to ask them to pay back a modest amount like maybe $25,000 or $30,000. How do you think that would sell?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, it's always tough getting money back from the players. Take it from me (smiling). But, you know, it would be -- it would have to be something the players -- I think if I was going to give whatever money I got back over some time or in one lump sum, I'd like to see where it's going and I'd like to have a little bit of control over that. I wouldn't want my money going to, you know, Gatorades on the side of the court. I'd want my money to go for some young junior, male or female, getting great coaching, and maybe at my discretion, whether I think the coach is good enough or not, because then I'd feel like my money's not being wasted. I wouldn't have a problem with it if I had some say in where it went.

Q. Do you think American standard is too harsh a standard?

TAYLOR DENT: Absolutely not. I think that's what drives us a lot of the time. You know, that's what drives sport. You know, we want to have the best. The US wants to have the best Americans. The Spanish want to have the best Spanish. You know, I don't think it's too harsh at all. Us being in the spotlight, us playing tennis, that's the pressure we have to deal with. It is tough pressure, but I don't think it's too harsh.

End of FastScripts….

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