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March 22, 2001

Taylor Dent


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. A couple years ago you were 17, you were identified as the top American player around your age and in the last couple years you've gotten some company with Andy and Mardy who are doing well, getting some big wins. How have you experienced all of that? Have you been oblivious to that kind thing? Has that been a helpful thing recently, a burden earlier on? What do you make of that whole thing?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, I mean like you said, the first one, I was pretty oblivious to what else was going on just because, you know, when Lleyton Hewitt started doing well, I felt a ton of pressure to do well and all that stuff. But I just realized that everybody has their own time, time line, time path. So I learned to become oblivious to what everybody else is doing and just, you know, do the best I can.

Q. The fact that you have a little more company, at least among American players, does that help you in some ways where you don't feel any kind of pressure? Or did you not feel that much in the first place?

TAYLOR DENT: I didn't really feel that much in the first place. Like I said, if Andy Roddick wins a tournament or I win the tournament, I hope it doesn't put pressure on either one of us. I hope we just go along improving our games and trying to be the best players we can be. If Mardy Fish wins one next week, same thing.

Q. By the same token, does it actually help you when you see them have a good win, knowing you're friends with them?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I mean, you know, I love to see any American do well. You know, I just, you know, "Go USA." But any American having a good win is nice.

Q. Just comment on today's match. How do you feel like it went?

TAYLOR DENT: It went okay. You know, just started out a little sluggish in the first couple games. Then I played a very strong end of the first set and I started out well in the beginning of the second, and he adjusted his game. He started hitting the ball a lot better, keeping the ball a lot deeper off the baseline. And, you know, I had to, you know, work more of the court, you know, work his forehand a little bit, go to his backhand. I had to adjust my game as soon as I realized what was going on. It took me a little longer than probably it should have today.

Q. This is the first time you've played in this tournament. Do you feel a better comfort level just in recent months because maybe of a little more success you've had, more experience?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, definitely I feel like I belong more, which shouldn't matter to me either way. But I'd be lying if I said that, you know, last year I felt like I belonged at this level, a Slam, Masters Series levels. But having the wins I've had, I feel like I belong here now.

End of FastScripts....

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