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June 28, 2001

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. When are you going to be packing that right arm in ice?

TAYLOR DENT: I do every night. You know, it's been hurting me. But it's Wimbledon. Can't complain.

Q. 66 unreturned services today, yet you come away wondering how Hewitt digs out so many balls.

TAYLOR DENT: That's why he is where he is. I mean, he's a great counterpuncher, great returner. To break me in that fifth set, I don't know for sure, but I think he hit two or three return winners. I didn't play a bad service game, I don't think. I maybe hit a couple of second serves, but played that game too good.

Q. Fastest recorded serve at Wimbledon. 144 miles an hour.

TAYLOR DENT: Sounds good.

Q. Any consolation?

TAYLOR DENT: I'd feel better if I won the match, but, yeah, that's nice, I guess.

Q. How Aussie do you feel?

TAYLOR DENT: I'm definitely very Australian. My father brought me up forever. So I feel very Australian. But American is -- America is where I grew up, so I'm more American.

Q. What's been the toughest part about adjusting to the professional game for you?

TAYLOR DENT: For me, it's just finding that consistency to perform well each match. You know, I'm kind of -- I've had great wins and I've had pretty bad losses. I'm just starting to come around to get consistently in the, you know, higher, above-average playing. For me, that's been the toughest part.

Q. Do you feel this match will be a good learning experience for you?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I would have liked to have won and learned. But I guess I'll take away what I can.

Q. Can you talk about that fourth set when Hewitt was serving for the match and it looked as though you were down and out.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, no, I just -- he had to win, you know, one more point and, you know. If I win it, he doesn't. So I was just trying to stay out there, trying to keep the match going.

Q. With the big serves, I mean, he obviously wasn't coping with them very well, but you were double-faulting as well.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I threw in a ton of double-faults this match. I hadn't been double-faulting a great deal in my qualifying rounds and even against Bruguera Tuesday. So, I mean, I just tried to slow it down a little bit and get more kick.

Q. Do you think they cost you the match?


Q. What cost you the match?

TAYLOR DENT: I think what cost me the match was after the rain delay in the first set, when I won that first set pretty comfortably. I just, you know, maybe relaxed a little bit. I lost the urgency I had when I went out there. If anything lost me the match, that's what lost me the match.

Q. Do you think Lleyton can go on and go quite far in the tournament now?

TAYLOR DENT: For sure. I mean, he returns well. He serves well. You know, he's going to be tough to beat.

Q. Do you think the rain delay helped him?

TAYLOR DENT: It wasn't the rain delay that did it. It was just my thought process changed. I was going out there to kind of win every single point I could. And then after I got back out there, having won the first set 6-1, I just kind of, you know, lost that urgency to win every point. I picked it back up in the fourth set, and even in the fifth set. But the two middle sets, you know, I didn't play as well as I could have.

Q. Do you think it helped him, though, the rain delay?

TAYLOR DENT: He seemed to play better. But, you know, he didn't really change a whole lot. But, you know, he played better.

Q. At one point early in the second, just after the rain break, he was trying to fire himself up, he appeared to drill a ball your way. Were you aware of that?


Q. Has Andy's success placed any more urgency on you, pressure on you, self-imposed or otherwise? Do you feel anything from Andy's success pushing you along?

TAYLOR DENT: I'm very happy for Andy. You know, we all have our own timelines when we do well, and I'm glad Andy's doing well now. Hopefully, I can get my butt in gear and start doing well. This was a good learning match for me, so hopefully I can keep it up, and maybe we can play some Davis Cup in the future. But, you know, I'm very happy for Andy. I hope he keeps going here.

Q. What happened on the foot-fault also?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. Ticky-tack rule, I guess. I wasn't aware of -- I wasn't complaining. I was actually asking the guy what the rule was. I never heard of it before.

Q. When he returns so well, does it influence you to go for more than you normally would on your second serve?

TAYLOR DENT: I have a pretty big second serve anyway. I mean, I figure if I hit, you know, where I'm aiming, it's going to be tough to return. So not generally. I mean, my slower second serves are still about 105 I think, and that's pretty big by anybody's standards. So I just try and hit my spots.

Q. When you approach every point, go after everything so aggressively, has it ever crossed your mind to play it safe?

TAYLOR DENT: Yes, most definitely. It's not my style of game. I just don't play well. I actually play less consistently doing that. I just, you know, I back off of shots a little bit. But, you know, I just got into the mode of being aggressive again recently, so it's really been good.

Q. Cracked a couple of 140-plus serves in the tiebreak. Were you pumped after getting the double-faults from him? Has that got you pumped up?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, after I got my nose in there and I thought I had a chance to win, I thought I had a chance to make it five. Once it goes five, I was actually feeling pretty confident and just didn't go my way.

Q. Did you think you had a chance to get yourself back into the fifth after he broke you?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah. I mean, I broke him pretty comfortably in the first set and I thought I was only a couple shots away. When he served for it at 15-all, I missed a chip by I don't know how far, but it wasn't far. And, I mean, I figure I win that point, it's 15-30, that changes the whole thing. The whole set, you know, I thought, "It's only one break, I just need to play one good game, he needs to play one bad game and I'm in there."

Q. Is this the kind of match that will propel you into the Top 100, or you're not so sure that you're quite there yet?

TAYLOR DENT: I think game-wise, I'm there. You know, I don't think -- there's not much I can't do on the tennis court. It's just, you know, the mental part. Like I went out there today in the second and third set and kind of relaxed a little bit. But, you know, I'm getting better very fast recently. So, you know, each day I get better. So I think, you know, I can go forward from this match.

Q. Does a lot of that have to do with Elliott?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, he pointed out that I just was whining a little bit too much on the court. You know, I try not to do that.

Q. What were the reasons behind your coaching change? Your dad had coached you for a while, then you went to Elliott. What was the situation there?

TAYLOR DENT: He just got tired of me. He said, "Get lost, son." No, it's just tough being father, son and coach and player. It's just, you know, a real touchy thing. We both agreed that it would probably be better if, you know, I had a different coach.

Q. Is it because you kind of bring it into the house? Does it cross over sometimes, coaching into the house?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, yeah, no. I mean definitely. Definitely.

Q. What's on your dance card from here?

TAYLOR DENT: From here I'm going to go back home and then I'm going to go to Newport, Rhode Island, and play a grass thing there. Then I'm going to take a week off or so and play LA Open all the way through to US Open.

Q. For old guys like me who remember your father when he was a damn good player, do you appreciate how good your father was as a player?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, there's no question. Everybody's told me how good he was and all this and that. I'm busting my butt to be that good.

Q. Are there any matches that you saw as a kid that were similar to the match you played just now?

TAYLOR DENT: Unfortunately, I never watched a whole lot of tennis when I was growing up or when I was playing, which is a mistake on my part. I wish I would have watched more. But I actually watched Rafter play Albert Costa one time in, was it Australian Open? He was just fighting like a dog, and Costa was just playing unbelievable, you know. I hope that's, you know, the impression I give out there; that I'm fighting like a dog, win, lose, whatever.

Q. When all these Aussie greats were coming in and out of the house when you were a youngster, did you have any real deep appreciation for what they had done?

TAYLOR DENT: No, not really. It was just, you know, just another guy in the house (laughter.)

Q. Was it, "Hi, Mr. Laver"?

TAYLOR DENT: Not with Laver so much, but with other guys. I was too young to really know what they had accomplished.

Q. Can you come up with one recollection, one interesting story about these legends who were in your house?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't know if they'd want me to, you know, indulge in their private affairs. No (laughing). No, I can't.

Q. When you say that about the Rafter-Costa match, does that mean you'd like to play like Rafter?

TAYLOR DENT: That means I'd like to have his intensity, his will on the court.

Q. Aside from fighting as much as you did today, did you have any sense of the moment? I mean, you were playing in a great, entertaining, fun match, the crowd was into it. Could you step back at any moment and say, "Wow"? Or were you focused?

TAYLOR DENT: I was really focused on winning the next point every time. It was actually overwhelming. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the crowd out there. I mean, late in the fifth set and late in the fourth set, you were going crazy, I'd get chills. You can't not notice it. But try and stay, you know, as in the moment as possible.

Q. You were just talking about the intensity of Rafter. How intense is Lleyton out there? Can you feel his intensity?

TAYLOR DENT: Again, I'm just trying to focus so much on myself that he may have hit a ball at me or not - I don't even know. I'm just doing my thing.

Q. So you don't notice the fist pumps or the jumping in the air?

TAYLOR DENT: I think I saw one fist pump. He may have kneeled after matchpoint. But apart from that, I didn't notice anything.

Q. What did he say to you at the end?

TAYLOR DENT: He said, "Well played."

Q. At 2-5 in the final set when he stuffed two overheads, was that like classic Lleyton Hewitt stuff right there?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, it was just -- he's just, you know, a great counterpuncher. That is classic Lleyton Hewitt. He's just getting everything back.

End of FastScripts�.

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