August 30, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Pretty awesome volleying down the stretch in the fourth set, carried over into the fifth.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, thanks. You know, I was holding on to my serve pretty well in the first, fourth and fifth sets. You know, thank God I did, because I wasn't getting a sniff on his erve at all until that very last game. Yeah, just came down to holding serve all the time.
Q. Near the end of the fourth set, the low backhand cross-court.
TAYLOR DENT: Everybody hits a lucky shot every now and then, you know.
Q. Pretty solid.
TAYLOR DENT: I don't know about that (smiling). Yeah, well, I come to net enough times where I'm going to hit a good volley every now and then.
Q. How low were you?
TAYLOR DENT: On the ground. I needed a shovel.
Q. Can you talk about the drama of this moment, first five-set win, first fourth round.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I'm pretty excited. I don't think it's fully sunk in yet. I'm just kind of trying to stay focused, you know, getting ready for Agassi or Kafelnikov. So I haven't really basked in this win for too long, I'm kind of already moved on. But it's nice. I'm not going to lie. I'm very happy. But in the same thing, I'm getting ready.
Q. Were you kicking yourself after you came back from the rain delay, trying to serve it out?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, for sure, I was definitely in a bit of a rhythm before the rain delay came. I just got back out there and I was trying to stay calm. But inside I was so juiced up. Come out there trying to hit my second serve mach 5; I ended up hitting three doubles that game, giving it away. But, you know, those things happen. It's all part of the maturing process for me. If I was doing everything right, hopefully I'd be, you know, Top 10 in the world or something like that. So it's a good thing I'm still making mistakes, I guess.
Q. You've been working on your conditioning. It really showed in the fifth set.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, you know, I felt fine out there. Like I said, I was just trying to stay calm. But physical-wise, I felt like, you know, I could have gone another few sets. But, you know, he was running my butt all around the court. It was a good confidence booster for me physically.
Q. What have you done differently in terms of getting in better shape?
TAYLOR DENT: I hired a fitness trainer. For the five, six weeks I was injured, we were constantly twice-a-day sessions grinding, doing sprints, whole bunch of agility stuff all the time. So it's something I've never done before. I think it's really paying off. Everybody in my corner, as you'd say, is really happy with my movement out there and everything. Got to keep it up, unfortunately (smiling).
Q. How does it feel to have physically outlasted a Chilean on the other side of the court, make their living on clay?
TAYLOR DENT: It's nice. It was nice. It was a fun match. You know, any time that the crowd is that vocal out there, you know, the Chileans were going crazy, and as soon as I had a run going, hit a couple good shots, the New York crowd was going crazy. I mean, it was deafening sometimes it was so loud. It was unbelievable. You know, it was fun to pull it out. It was great.
Q. In the tiebreak after missing the first two set points, now you're at 6-4; any doubts as you stepped up to hit that ball?
TAYLOR DENT: Not really. I've just been playing pretty confident actually. It was very strange for me to come to this tournament because I was feeling very confident for not playing. You know, normally after you haven't played, you're kind of, "Hope I get my feet during the match." I came here thinking I feel very confident. I'm playing very well. So, you know, losing those two set points, having one more on my serve, I felt like, "I'm going to hit an ace up the T, no problem. Fifth set, here we come."
Q. Your dad said this could have taught you a lot of things.
TAYLOR DENT: It's funny, I guess I'm still learning. But he was saying what a gutsy effort it was. Everybody in my corner was saying what a gutsy effort it was, all this "rah-rah" stuff. Which is nice. It's nice that they believe that. But I'm still learning. I don't feel like it was a gutsy effort. I just felt like I was out there and I was just trying to execute my game every point. You know, I guess my dad said, "Well, that is guts." So, maybe that's what I'm in the process of learning and I'll pick it up tomorrow. It just felt like I was trying to execute my game, you know, from point one.
Q. You talked about your confidence. Is there something specific that you attribute the increasing confidence from like two years ago?
TAYLOR DENT: Just my consistency. I think that's been a problem with me. I know that people who followed my tennis have known that on my days, I could compete and beat anybody. I was a very dangerous player. But the problem is that day would come, you know, once every three months, four months (smiling). So, I think my consistency is getting better. The fact that I'm getting tougher to break, you know, can't do anything but give me confidence. All I need to do is learn how to break guys a little bit more, I'll be set.
Q. Conditioning, can you give us a couple remarks about how the conditioning you're doing is linked directly to the kind of motion you have on the court, that is, coming forward, having to make quick sprints to the left or right?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, well, my fitness trainer's name is Nick Anthony. He just said, "It's not your style of game for me to have you run for like 30 or 40, 50 seconds at a time. We don't want to build that, you know, just repetitive endurance muscle. We want to get you explosive and really agile, that's your game." So we would do a ton - and I mean a ton - of short sprints, changing directions in the sand. So we were just very specific about that, trying to translate it to when I'm running up to the net and I have to dive for a pass, something like that.
Q. Short, 25 yards?
TAYLOR DENT: Shorter than that. Just kind of change of directions, then sprint for maybe 10 yards, you know.
Q. Do you feel you've had more pressure on you just because you've had to follow in the footsteps of two parents who played on the tour?
TAYLOR DENT: I get asked that question a lot. I have to owe that a lot to my father actually. When I was growing up, he warned me from when I started to, you know, show signs of potential around 13 and 14 that people would compare me to him and my mom. And he just said, "You know, everybody's different. If you get good enough, you may get compared to Sam Paris, all that stuff." He says, "Don't worry about it. Everybody's different. You just keep taking care of what you can control, and you'll go the right direction."
Q. In your own mind, are you a little surprised it took you five years to get to the fourth round of a Slam?
TAYLOR DENT: In my own mind, I am a little surprised - or I would have been surprised. But I'm not really, because my game wasn't there. Like I said, I lacked the consistency. To win matches in a Slam especially, it's three out of five sets, you have to be consistent every match. You can't just play a good set here and a good set there - you're going to lose. So I'm not really surprised. But I think I'm heading in the right direction to get here more often and hopefully further.
Q. There are a lot of parents in this game who were tennis players or athletes who don't know when to turn them over to a coach. How did that come out and who initiated the conversation between you and your dad?
TAYLOR DENT: When I was about 17, my father, you know, he just came up to me, and there was, you know, tension. Around that age with every father and son, I think there's a little extra tension. He said, "Look, I want you to be the best tennis player you can be. And I don't think I'm the answer for you right now." He said, "Maybe when we both mature down the road, we'll get back together and start working together. But right now, it's best for your tennis if I just step aside." So, you know, it was really great that he did that.
Q. How did you feel about that?
TAYLOR DENT: It was a bit of a shock to me. For the first couple months, I was a bit scared. But, you know, it's working out fine. You know, like he said, down the road maybe we get back together. I don't know.
Q. What would you attribute the increase in consistency to?
TAYLOR DENT: I'm a big believer in repetition. I think that that's the only way to go. So before I came here, I was playing just -- I don't know, I was playing games to 40 on my serve, to 40 points, which is pretty long. So I just kept playing points after points after points, and I got into a rhythm. I just think the repetition is helping my consistency get better. Like I said, I've got a long way to go, but I think it's moving in the right direction.
Q. Who were you working out with mostly when you were doing that?
TAYLOR DENT: When I was doing that? Just everybody was at tournaments. My dad's friend Sid Ball, an old Australian player, he has a son Cameron Ball, about 20 years old, and he was my guinea pig. So I took advantage of him (smiling).
Q. Will mom be showing up for the next round?
TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I'll have to talk to her tonight and see what she thinks about that. She has a little one to take care of. I don't know. If I make the quarters or semis, I'm going to tell her she's got to get her butt out here.
Q. It seems like as opposed to a couple years ago, this year specifically, when you're in the back court, you're not able to get up to net, you're not trying to bang a winner too quickly, you're more committed to sliding your way to net.
TAYLOR DENT: That's for sure. I think that's been a big change in my game over the past, you know, year or so, just over a year. Tonight actually I probably should have ripped a few more balls than I did because he was just controlling every point from the baseline. But, you know, I'm just trying to let the guys beat themselves on their service games because, like I said, I've got the confidence that I can hold six games for a set and get to a tiebreaker. I think once you get to a tiebreaker, I've got a bit of an advantage because of my serve. I'm just trying to make them play and see if they can give me a game or two.
Q. You played Andre before at a Slam.
TAYLOR DENT: I've played him twice actually. The guy is - that guy!
Q. What about "that guy"?
TAYLOR DENT: That guy, he's unbelievable. I don't want to look ahead because he's still got to beat Kafelnikov. So I don't want to get my sights set on one person. If I do play against Andre, I'm going to have to serve very well and execute my volleys. It's going to be like Gonzalez, I'm going to have to rip a few more balls from the back so I don't get ran around from the baseline side to side, him wearing me down. I'm going to have to try to take advantage of as many short balls as I can, as many balls as I'm set up on, give him a ride.
Q. If you play him, which is probable, center court this time, any intimidation, nerve factor?
TAYLOR DENT: I've had my fair share of big-stage matches. I played Andre Centre Court at Wimbledon, I played Hewitt Centre Court at Wimbledon. I played a lot of big matches. So I'm not too worried about that. I'm just hoping that I execute my game like I can. If I do that, I believe I have a good enough chance to beat anybody.
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