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August 17, 2004

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mardy.

Q. What can you say about the match against Hrbaty?

TAYLOR DENT: It was a tough match, obviously. It was a bit awkward in the first set. We both broke each other twice. You know, that's not very common in men's tennis. You only see a break, maybe two, and then a breaker. But, you know, I guess my style of game was kind of giving him problems, chipping and charging off his second serve. But, you know, he was having a good time returning my serve in the first set. And then in the second, you know, I just had the one break and held onto my serve well enough to come away with a win. You know, it was a good match. He played good. He probably could have played better. You know, I'm happy to come away with the win.

Q. Are you satisfied here in Athens?


Q. Yes.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, so far. You know, never satisfied. I guess that's the motto. But I'm happy with the way I'm progressing. I played better today than I did yesterday. And hopefully if I can, you know, hang around, keep hanging around long enough, I'll have a chance to play some really good tennis.

Q. You're very much part of a team here. You have Andy, Mardy, the girls around as well. How much is that actually adding to the desire to do well?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, being a part of a team aspect in tennis comes very few times in a year. I mean, there's Davis Cup obviously, but there's only four players that go on that team and play. So to come here and be part of a team, which is rare for me, is awesome. You know, we're all fired up to do well. We're all encouraging each other. Hopefully that's going to bring the best tennis out of each and every one of us.

Q. Your career has had a few starts and stops. Do you feel this kind of experience, something that is once every four years, could be the thing to really give you another kick-start?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I hope so. I mean, I don't think that results are going to kick-start my career again and get me to have another ranking jump. I think that playing good tennis and improving my game will, in turn, bring good results, and then so on. But, yeah, it can't hurt your confidence coming to the Olympics, playing the best tennis players in the world, and everybody wants to win a gold medal. You know, where I stand right now, at least winning two matches. So if I can keep going, then I'll even have more confidence.

Q. Your dad played in an era when the Olympics weren't featuring tennis. Is he envious of the fact that you got the chance to play and he didn't?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I think he is. I don't know if you've spoken to many Australians, but they're all about representing their country. Back in those days, it was no different. They lived to play Davis Cup and they loved the team atmosphere. So, you know, there's no doubt in my mind that he's envious that I'm getting to play the Olympics and he never did.

Q. Going back to the match, the second set, was that one of the best sets you played in a while? Looked really strong.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I played better. I don't know if I faced a breakpoint or not, I can't remember. I'll have to look at the stats. I may have in an earlier game. But any time that I can play a set without dropping serve, I like my chances to win because, you know, I've proven that I can break guys on a consistent basis. So when I'm holding serve, you know, I'm odds-on favorite to win that set.

Q. Players say that this surface here and the conditions of play are similar to playing in altitude. Would you say on a higher level, like Mexico City, for example?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I've never played in Mexico City, but the ball does seem to fly a lot here. It wasn't hot today, but the other days it was very hot, and the ball is just going through the air so quickly. The courts are fast. And the balls are a little bit lighter than what I think we're used to playing. I think the balls in the US Open are a little bit harder. They're still fast, but I don't know, they seem just a little heavier. So, yeah, it does feel like you're playing in altitude.

Q. Does that suit your game better?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, any time that I can play on a surface that really kind of hinders my opponent's returning, then it helps me. Most of the courts we play on these days are very slow, and it gives my opponents a lot of time to hit good returns, run over and make good passing shots. In altitude and these quick conditions, it takes their time away and they're rushed to hit returns and passing shots.

Q. Can you give us a preview of your match against Ljubicic?

TAYLOR DENT: I didn't know who I play, okay. Ljubicic, he's going to like these conditions, too. He's got a big serve. I saw him play in the Davis Cup when I went to Croatia. He was hitting two first serves there. I don't know if he's going to come out and do the same thing. But he's probably going to serve and volley a fair bit. So there's going to be, you know, some big hitting. And, like I said, if I can hold on to my serve, I'll have a good chance.

Q. Are you staying in the Olympic village?

TAYLOR DENT: Mardy and Andy are staying in the Olympic village. Vince stayed one night, and the Bryans I think stayed two nights. I was there for a little while. I have a tough time sleeping. Those beds didn't look like they were going to help me, so I'm staying in a hotel (smiling).

Q. How do you feel about your experience here overall?

TAYLOR DENT: So far it's been great. Hopefully it keeps getting better. I saw my cousin here. Misty is playing in the beach volleyball competition. It's really exciting to come here. Andy has said it a few times this week. This is where all the eyes are turned right now in the world, at the Olympics. And to be part of that is really unique and remarkable.

Q. Are you going to watch Misty compete at all?

TAYLOR DENT: If I get a chance. The tennis schedule's pretty tough, and I'm trying to conserve my energy. So if I get a day off, I'd love to go out there and see her play.

End of FastScripts….

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