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January 19, 2004

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Can you sum up the way you played today.

TAYLOR DENT: First round, I was a little jittery. But I came out and I played solid in the bigger points, so, you know, the score was kind of convincing but the tennis wasn't that great for me or him. But, you know, it's just nice to get by the first round. Good enough, I guess.

Q. Could you sense he wasn't feeling quite well?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I didn't notice it too much in the beginning, but at the end of the first set came around, I thought, "Jeez, not moving too well, not serving too big, so something must be wrong." Then he took that long break, 15 minutes or so. I was thinking, "Don't count on him retiring." It's the worst thing I can do is say "He's going to retire for sure" because then he starts playing, plays better, and you get pressure. I noticed he was hurting a little bit. I just tried to step up my game a little bit and put more pressure on him to put pressure on him to make him feel more uncomfortable.

Q. Did you ever have that situation where someone took a long injury break and you were slightly off your game when you came back?

TAYLOR DENT: Absolutely. I can remember it happened in the Juniors more than the pros. Some kid takes like ten minutes in between sets. You're like, "He's done, no chance." All of a sudden you're down 5-love and you're like, "What happened?" Learn from the mistakes.

Q. You had some injuries last year. How is your body coming into the first Slam? What did you do in the off-season to make sure you can get through the whole year?

TAYLOR DENT: Off-season, you know, is not that much time like other sports, so we can't do a great deal amount of things. But, you know, I was doing a lot of off-court training, a lot of sprinting, trying to lose some weight, just try and improve my overall strength and flexibility. I still have the same fitness trainer that I've had since the US Open, and I haven't had an injury since then. He hasn't left my side. We've just been thick as thieves running around everywhere. He's looking after my body.

Q. Who's that?

TAYLOR DENT: His name is Nick Anthony. That's the biggest step I've made, is just hiring him full-time to make sure that I don't get any more injuries.

Q. How much weight have you lost?

TAYLOR DENT: I fluctuate a little bit. The first week after the season killed me, God. I put on a few pounds. But I'm back down do about 195.

Q. From...?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, I was up 205, maybe a little more (smiling).

Q. What was doing the big damage?

TAYLOR DENT: Doing the big damage is not getting my big butt off the couch. I get a tendency where I could just sit down all day, very lazy. But, you know, working hard makes it go away so it's not too big a deem.

Q. Who else has Nick worked with?

TAYLOR DENT: He worked with Justin Gimelstob. Before that he was working with NFL guys, and nobody gets more beat up than those NFL guys. Hopefully...

Q. Your problems are nothing to what he's seen?

TAYLOR DENT: I'm sure they're not. I'm sure they're not.

Q. What it's like playing serve and volley on Rebound Ace?

TAYLOR DENT: It depends. They can make the Rebound Ace such a variety of speeds, it's unbelievable. I remember I played one year here against Sanguinetti. The court was the fastest outdoor court I've ever played on. The kick serves in the first set, I was struggling so much with his kick serve because it was jumping so high. So it rely depends. But as far as this year goes, I think it's a great speed for me. I think when I'm from the baseline scrapping, I can hit heavy top, get myself out of trouble. When I stick to volleys, it stays nice and low. I actually enjoy it. If you ask the Spanish guys, they'll say the same thing. If they're hitting topspin, they feel like they get a lot off the court.

Q. Is the footing here better on this stuff than the US Open surface?

TAYLOR DENT: I think it's fairly similar. I think just what you see from the ankle sprains and all that on this surface, it's just the quick change of directions. You stick here more than you slide. The initial pushoff I think is very similar.

Q. How did you convince your dad to start coaching again and the traveling week after week on the circuit?

TAYLOR DENT: He didn't have a choice. No, I just asked him if he want to do it, and we're so clear on how my game is that I think we both feel like even if we hired someone to come, you know, a week, if he wanted to take a break or two weeks, or a little trip, that we know exactly what we want to work on. We know exactly what I need to be, you know, a force to be reckoned with. But so it wouldn't be that big a deal. If he wanted to take a break, I'm sure we'd just grab somebody and take him out there.

Q. Did it help having gone through this before with him saying, "Mistakes or lessons learned in the past"?

TAYLOR DENT: I just think before we were both frustrated in the fact that we felt like I wasn't improving or we didn't know what my game needed to become, you know, a better player, or have your chance to go far in the Slams, have a chance to win tournaments, have a chance to beat the best guys in the world week in and week out. We just didn't know. We were looking for different opinions, just guys who have been out there more recently. Now, we absolutely know 100 percent what my game needs. And now it's just a matter of getting my game to do those things.

Q. You decided to make the change right after the Open with Brad?

TAYLOR DENT: Actually, I was injured that long summer stretch and I didn't work with Brad until pretty much the Open, the week and a half, two -- actually, even that whole time beforehand dad and I were talking about what I needed, this and that. We were pretty much working together that whole stretch up to the Open. And that's how that came about.

End of FastScripts….

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