September 2, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question.
Q. When did you aggravate the injury? Looked like you had treatment the fifth game of the second set?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, well, I actually hurt it a few days ago. I had gotten treatment on it and thought it was taken care of. Because of the rain all day yesterday, I hit some very late indoors. It was bothering me a little bit. I iced it, had it massaged and thought it was gone. Just hitting out there with Todd in the warm-up, I kind of felt it a little bit. I was in the training room, getting it looked at. It pretty much got worse and worse coming on and coming off the courts with the rain delay.
Q. When you saw the rain start to fall within minutes of you ending the match, was there any kind of feeling like, "Oh, man, if I maybe could have just stayed out there, the rain would have bought me some time"?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, you know, I could have bought some time until tomorrow. But the way it's feeling now, I'm guessing I'm gonna be having a tough time walking around tomorrow. It's pretty sore right now. If I wake up and it is feeling perfect tomorrow, then I'll be very angry. But I doubt that's gonna happen.
Q. Is it hamstring or quad?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I was told it's a hamstring strain.
Q. You had the right game plan, had the right game. You were executing it. Is this going to seem like a very big lost opportunity for what could have been maybe a career-making victory?
TAYLOR DENT: You know, you can look at it positive and you can look at it negative. If I was being negative about it, I guess I could say, "Oh, I missed a huge opportunity tonight." But I'm gonna try and take the positive route and say, "I was really giving the No. 1 player in the world all he could handle tonight." I was, you know -- I felt like I had a really good chance to do some damage. So I think that's very exciting. As soon as I get my body in order, I can't wait to keep playing that kind of tennis and executing it. I just, you know, am interested to see my results, that's for sure.
Q. You answered a couple of questions tonight. Did after winning the first set, the immediate question was, "Is he going to come out strong in the second set? Can he get an early break in the second set?" Maybe the one question that hasn't been answered, can you keep your body in one piece for a stretch of time so you can capitalize on this?
TAYLOR DENT: That's going to be a question probably throughout my whole career, that I'm realizing now. It's a shame that I have to deal with it. But those are the cards I've been dealt. So I just have to do the best I can and stay in the training room, you know, put up my bed there and just have them work on my body every opportunity I get. I'm willing to do that if it means me being a champion. I think that's a very small sacrifice.
Q. Was there one particular thing in your mind that balanced the scale of, "It's time to quit, call it a night"?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I mean, if I could have got that set to a tiebreaker or won that third set, I would have stayed out there for a fourth set. But, you know, maybe for the fourth if I could just, you know, keep the pain -- maybe it stayed on an even keel. It was getting worse. If I would have stayed out there for five sets, even if I would have won the fourth being down two sets to one, I would be kneeling to hit my serve.
Q. Did you find it difficult to react to Andre's passing shots?
TAYLOR DENT: Actually, the only thing it hurt on was my serve. If I could have played return games the whole time, I would have stayed out there. But it was just killing on my serve. I couldn't get up at all.
Q. Just the lift?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, some funky kick motion. Push-off, I don't know.
Q. At your best tonight, you did so many things well, not just the serving and volleying and the chipping and charging, but the returns, defensive stabs on first serves against him. A lot of us haven't seen that effective returning...
TAYLOR DENT: Thanks, I appreciate that.
Q. That helped to get into the point, did it not?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I was basically -- you know, he controls the point I think better than anybody in tennis right now. So I was out there with the mentality of, "If he's in control of the point, I'm just gonna try and scrap and claw and dig and get ahead." But as soon as he hit a ball that was slower, I was gonna give it a ride. I think you saw that in the first-set breaker. I think I missed that backhand by 30 feet. But, yeah, that was my game plan.
Q. Did you just decide, "Let's finish the set"?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, that's what I thought. If I could win that set somehow, then I'll stay out there for a fourth. But losing that set, there was just no chance my leg was gonna hold up for two more.
Q. Any indication how long it's gonna be in rehab?
TAYLOR DENT: It depends how aggressive I am with it. If I'm very aggressive, I'm very confident that it's gonna be, you know, a matter of days, maybe 10, 14 days. If I slack on it, could be forever (smiling).
Q. Where will that put you in terms of the tour situation?
TAYLOR DENT: I don't know. I'm not really worried. I think my ranking and my results will come because I'm playing good tennis. And as soon as I'm healthy, I'll go back out there.
Q. Having come into this tournament almost cold turkey, not playing any tournaments on the hard court season leading up here, looking back, are you surprised at how well you did?
TAYLOR DENT: I am surprised, definitely, how well I did. I'm not surprised with the aches and pains I got. I thought I'd be getting them in the first and second rounds because once you take a long break and you start coming back, normally the thing that you hurt is perfect and everything else in your body breaks down. That's kind of what happened here, I think, is just my body wasn't used to the pounding and it finally broke down. I'm pleasantly surprised with how I'm playing. Hopefully, I can keep getting better.
Q. Did your coach talk to you or signal for you to stop during the match?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, he told me to stop at around 4-all or 4-5 on the change.
Q. Did he yell down to you?
TAYLOR DENT: He got my attention and he just gave it that one (indicating). I told him, "Just let me play the set. Let me play the set." It's understandable for him because I have a bad habit of staying out there with injuries. Yeah, so, that's his job, to make sure I'm doing the smart thing out there.
Q. If it were up to you, would you have played the entire match, kept going?
TAYLOR DENT: Again, I was thinking about it in the middle of the third. I'm thinking, "What do I do?" I was thinking, "If I win this set, I'll keep playing. If not, there's no point."
Q. What did Phil say to you after that?
TAYLOR DENT: I'm inconsolable after the match. So he didn't say anything.
Q. Can you just detail the last couple injuries you've had. You've had a back injury in June. Then the wrist after Wimbledon. What else is going on this year?
TAYLOR DENT: This year, okay, missed Australian Open because I was running stadium, doing stairs, and I got a femoral condyle contusion. There you go. I know all the terms now, I'm very good. That's basically a bone contusion on the knee. That was fine. Then I played through there. Then the next one I had was the back.
Q. Is that after the French?
TAYLOR DENT: That was after the French, yeah. That was during Nottingham, which was the week before Wimbledon. Then I had...
Q. A back sprain?
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I've had some back problems and I just had to get it taken care of. It was probably my fault for letting it go too long without getting it seen to. Then after that was -- I injured the nerve in my hand, the ulnar nerve. Just pinched it funky. Then this one.
Q. Was that in the Ljubicic match?
TAYLOR DENT: Which one?
TAYLOR DENT: No, no. I was fine for the Ljubicic match - almost (smiling).
Q. You said this happened a few days ago. Can you pinpoint at what point the hamstring happened?
TAYLOR DENT: I think I've just been hitting so many serves lately. I just wanted to come to this tournament and hold serve as much as possible because I feel like I can break on a pretty regular basis. And I think it was just an overuse injury.
Q. That was the changeover at 4-3, Brad looked at you?
TAYLOR DENT: 5-4, it was 5-4.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.