March 17, 2004
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Taylor.
Q. Did you feel you could have served a little better out there today?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, absolutely. I think the match against Lapentti and the match against Kuerten were both, you know, very good serving matches for me. I thought I still could have served better. But today was, you know, a shocker. It was kind of like how I was playing before with the serves. Even when I'd hit them in, I wasn't making a move. I was putting them right in the honey hole. He was hitting winners. If I served well, if I hit the spots like I should, it doesn't happen. So it's a bit disappointing. But, you know, again, that's the reason why I've been losing other matches. Just reconfirming what I have to work on.
Q. How does it fall off from one match to another?
TAYLOR DENT: I wish I knew. You know, I just lose a little bit of rhythm. That's just the way it goes, unfortunately for me. Other guys have to work on other things. But I've got to, you know, keep grinding away every day on my serve to make sure that I've got nice rhythm and good placement.
Q. The start of the third set, what happened?
TAYLOR DENT: No, I mean, I got broken twice in the first set. You know, once in the second. If I'm serving well, I normally go fine.
Q. What happened at the start of the third set, did you run out of gas? 5-Love really fast.
TAYLOR DENT: I was down 5-Love all of a sudden. Like I said, it was really no different in the first set. I just didn't break him in the third set. He came out on fire. Like I said, I was putting serves right in his strike zone. He didn't have to move at all. He was hot and he hit a few winners, he hit some lines. That's all it took to get up.
Q. How many times did you wait to see a shot go by and it landed in?
TAYLOR DENT: That was so frustrating today. I don't know, whatever it was, I just felt like he was definitely painting some lines, and some balls that I thought were, you know, going out seemed to drop in. But, you know, that's my fault.
Q. Was the heat a factor at all out there in the third set? Did it get to you at all?
TAYLOR DENT: Unfortunately, no. Like I said, same thing in the first set. I just was putting serves right in his honey hole. I didn't break. He was serving better. He was hitting aces by me. I couldn't get, you know, my teeth in any of his service games. Kind of the same story, except I wasn't breaking.
Q. In a situation like you just described, how do you keep from getting frustrated? You were visibly frustrated several times.
TAYLOR DENT: I was pretty frustrated. At the end of the day, there's not much I can do. I can't say time out, go work on my serve, go work on my returns or anything like that. I got to just keep plugging away. Hopefully I either find some rhythm, get some lucky breaks, or he gets tight. None of those happened. So it was unfortunate.
Q. Did he beat you today or did you beat yourself?
TAYLOR DENT: That's a very interesting question. I always feel like I beat myself in one way or another. But he played good. I mean, you know, he's hitting the shots out there. It's not like I hit 80 double-faults, he never had to hit a return, or I missed every return. He played and he won. But I feel like if I play like I should play, hitting the spots on my serves, it might have been a different story.
Q. Do you have matches where you can adjust that serve midway and get it back on track?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, no. Today I started hitting seconds for firsts. My second normally goes around 115, in the one-teens. I started getting more in. Unfortunately, it's right in his strike zone. I may as well be hitting them out because they're going to go by me or at my feet faster than they're going.
Q. No doubt your serve is such a big part of your game. Is there any danger in concentrating too much on it? You put so much emphasis on working on it.
TAYLOR DENT: The only reason I'm concentrating so much on it is because it's just so clear in my mind that that's why I'm losing matches. If it wasn't having anything to do with my serve, if it was my foot speed or my volleys or whatever it is, I'd be putting all my attention there. But the one constant of me losing matches is really my serve. That's why it's getting a lot more attention than any other shots.
Q. The other day Andy Roddick said there are no more pure serve-and-volley players in the game. Do you consider yourself a serve-and-volley player?
TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I don't serve and stay back too often. I don't know what else I'd be considered.
Q. Kind of surprised me, the statement.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I don't know.
Q. You seem like your whole game is to want to get inside that service line.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I mean, I think if you ask every other player on tour, they'd pretty much say I'm a serve-and-volleyer. I didn't hear or read his comments. If he said that, I don't know, that's pretty surprising.
Q. He said, "I'll give you a hundred dollars for every one you could name."
TAYLOR DENT: All right. I'll go see him today, pick up my hundred.
Q. Why do you think there aren't more serve-and-volley players?
TAYLOR DENT: Because, you know, all the reasons we've gone over. You can't rely on just having a nice, solid forehand or a nice, solid backhand. You have to have every shot. It's a lot tougher to work on. That's kind of why it's frustrating. If you're not serving well, it makes you fall to pieces. If you're serving well, not volleying well, same thing happens. You're going to get broken so easy (snapping fingers). The name of the game in men's tennis is to hold serve. If you're a baseliner, you know, you don't really need to have a great serve. You can just kick it in, stay out the trouble, you know, work your wway into the baseline points. I think it's a more precise art. You know, you really need to be hitting the spots and being solid up at the net for it to be successful. It's tough to do.
Q. Do you think the power of the groundstrokes today has any effect on why there is less serve-and-volley players?
TAYLOR DENT: I mean, yes and no. You probably are going to lose more the 50/50 points than you should in today's game as opposed to years past. But, you know, again, I feel like serve-and-volley tennis is such a dominating game, if you are playing how it should be played, then it doesn't matter too much. But it's tough to execute.
Q. You hit a service return, attacked the net, you were down match point, and you got it.
TAYLOR DENT: Yes, that was one of the worst returns I hit all match, too (smiling).
Q. What do you think is the problem with the serve? You say you're losing rhythm. What would you be working on when you went out there?
TAYLOR DENT: What I've been working on this week, which has kind of paid off a little bit, is trying to get a little more extension with my right arm. I tend to let the ball drop a little bit on the toss, hit it too flat. It catches the tape a lot, just goes over the service line. I'm trying to get the extension like an Andy Roddick has to where you can really get that jump off the court. I think I'm doing that better - obviously not good enough. You know, that's only half the battle. Once I get that down, then I really have to start working on hitting the spots again.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.