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January 23, 2004

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Was it painful?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, that was definitely, without question, the worst tennis experience of my entire life - not only professional career, but my entire life.

Q. Can you explain it?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, I didn't look at the stats or anything. But the double-faults and the low first serve percentage was the biggest problem, and that hasn't been an uncommon thing. It's been something I've been trying to work on. Andy just exploited it because he didn't let me break back and get into the match. The other day against Chela, I got broken ten times. I mean, you know, no decent player gets broken ten times in a match. I don't care if it's 20 sets. Andy just didn't let me break back. That was the difference tonight.

Q. Started out with breaking him. Do you have a feeling, "Well, this is gonna go okay"?

TAYLOR DENT: I didn't really think too much about anything. I knew that breaks were gonna be rare for me to come by because he serves so well. I had a feeling that I was gonna struggle with my serve because, like I said, it's not like it just happened tonight. It's been kind of a common factor since the beginning of the year, really. So, yeah, I knew I was gonna struggle. Didn't surprise me that I broke him because, you know, I had good success breaking him both the previous times that I played him yeah.

Q. At times during the match after you'd make a mistake, I noticed on the TV you'd smile to yourself. What was going through your mind?

TAYLOR DENT: Just kind of -- I don't know. Trying to make some humor out of it because I wasn't tanking out there. I was busting my butt. I was running down everything I could. Just after I started to go through that bad patch, I just lost all my confidence out there and, you know, I was mentally as tough as I could be out there and I just was trying to make, I don't know, make it kind of a joke to myself to try and lighten up a little bit.

Q. Did you get into a period where you just couldn't make yourself think? You seemed to be overserving all the time.

TAYLOR DENT: Well, that's how I normally serve. You know, if you look back on the stats that I served in all the tournaments I did well, US Open, Bangkok, Moscow, all those tournaments, I hit my second serve pretty big. Even when I slowed it down, I still couldn't get them in. So, you know, I probably was overthinking a little bit out there when I was going through that bad patch but I was just trying to, you know, challenge him somewhat, just not give him everything.

Q. What do you think happens? Is this going to sit with you for a while? You have to force yourself to say, "Hey, that was the worst," and just forget about it?

TAYLOR DENT: That would be ideal, if I could just say, "That was the worst ever," and move on. I think the great players do that and it's something I'm learning to do. But, unfortunately, certain situations in tennis sting for me. You know, this is gonna sting for a little bit. This is gonna make me stay out on the court a long time.

Q. Was there a feeling of embarrassment?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, absolutely. There was one person that yelled out, "Come on, Taylor, I paid good money for these seats." I answered back. I said, "Look, it's costing me a lot of pride to stay out here." It was embarrassing. It was absolutely embarrassing. But, you know, it happens in all sports, so I'm not the first and hopefully I won't be the last.

Q. Was it more a question of wanting it too much; do you feel like your body was maybe too tense or geared up to do what it usually does?

TAYLOR DENT: I mean, I don't know. I'll probably have to do some soul-searching later. But I've played, you know, big matches before. I've played No. 1's in the world before, I've stretched them. I'm normally pretty good with the nerve side of the thing. Like I was saying earlier, this isn't an uncommon thing that's been happening. If you look back at my match with Chela, I don't know how many double-faults I hit, but I got broken ten times in that match. It wasn't the situation. It was just... Just, you know, it's the way it's kind of been happening.

Q. His level in general, Andy's?

TAYLOR DENT: He played good. The times I made him play, he was playing well.

Q. How many times a season do you have these off days - not just you, but the average player?

TAYLOR DENT: Okay, for the average player, I don't know. You'd probably have to ask them. You don't see the good guys, Top 10 guys in the world, have too many of these. I can't ever recall Andy playing a shocker of a match. I can't, you know -- I can't really say, but that's part of the reason I'm ranked where I'm ranked. I can play very good and I can play very bad. Unfortunately it's one or the other. There's not too much in between and that's what I'm trying to work towards.

Q. Probably a hard match to judge on because of his level, but he seems to have gotten quicker to me. Does he seem quicker moving laterally than he used to?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah. Like you say, it was tough to judge. I wasn't pushing him too much.

Q. Gonna catch up with the woman who was asking for her money back?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, boy. I think she owes me money for staying out there, actually (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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