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June 24, 2005

Taylor Dent


Q. How do you think your form is moving into the fourth round?

TAYLOR DENT: It's getting better actually. I feel like I did everything fairly solid today, except for second serve return and my forehand groundstroke. But everything else was pretty good. My serve was very consistent. I got myself out of some trouble. That was really making my service games a lot easier on me. You know, returning first serves was okay. And my slice backhand from the baseline was good. So overall it was good. There were a couple things I'd like to work on in the next couple of days. So hopefully get that taken care of.

Q. Pretty tough assignment the next round with Lleyton. You know all about his game. Do you think you're ready for a match like that?

TAYLOR DENT: Sure. You know, I get another couple days to get my body feeling good. You know, with my style of game, if I'm going out there serving well, it makes points for me very easy. I don't have to play long points and all that stuff. So, you know, I just have to go out there and execute my game as best as I can. If I do that, then I'll have a great chance to win.

Q. I think your dad was watching Hewitt's match. Expecting a big report from that?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, yeah. You know, Dad, whether I want his report or not on matches, I'll get it (laughter). So he will definitely fill me in on what he thinks I need to do out there.

Q. What do you remember about your match with Lleyton in '01 here? It was a great match.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I remember -- I just remember the last little bit of the match actually. I remember the fourth set breaker. I think I was down 4 or 5-1, came back, won that. The crowd was just so energized. It was crazy. Pretty uneventful fifth for me. He got a break early I think and just held on the whole way.

Q. Is he intimidating in any way?


Q. Yes.

TAYLOR DENT: He's always intimidating. To me, all those guys are intimidating. I think they can all beat me badly on any given day. So, you know, but that's part of the game. If you want to try and be the best, you have to beat all these guys. And Lleyton's one of the guys to beat. So hopefully I'll go out there and put up a good fight and come out on top.

Q. Is your dad any less forthcoming on information when you're playing another Aussie?

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, no. He's Dent more than Aussie, that's for sure. He's going to want me to win out there. He'll be chomping at the bit to tell me everything he knows.

Q. Are his reports succinct or do they go on and on?

TAYLOR DENT: He'll be as detailed as you care to hear, that's for sure. For me, my game is pretty simple. I like to tell him, "Look, bottom line is if I execute out there, I'm going to be a handful for Lleyton. I'm going to be very tough to beat." But he loves dissecting players and loves dissecting all that information so he'll have a good time telling me.

Q. You were saying earlier you are what you are. Are you a different player than when you met Lleyton four years ago?

TAYLOR DENT: I think absolutely, whether my game shows it or not. Mentally definitely, without a clue, I understand my game much better. I understand the game of tennis much better - how to win, how people lose. So, you know, I've matured a ton since 2001, that's for sure.

Q. Pluses and minuses of having a great former pro as your pop?

TAYLOR DENT: I'd have to say the general plus and minuses, obviously, the pluses are you get a wealth of information at a young age. Obviously minuses are there's a lot of expectations. But I was very fortunate the way my dad handled me when I was young. He made me very aware when he saw that I had some talent that people were going to make comparisons and say, "You're as good as your dad, better than your dad, not as good as your dad." I learned from a very young age to say, "We're two different people." I just have to focus on my game. So I was very lucky.

Q. Andrew Murray was talking about the breakfast his mother made him.

TAYLOR DENT: My dad never made me any breakfast.

Q. You've spoken a lot about your dad's influence on your tennis. Your mom was also pretty good. Where does she fit in, what type of influence did she have?

TAYLOR DENT: As far as my mom and my tennis goes, you know, when I go home, I'm so surrounded by tennis, that she kind of gives me a breather and doesn't really want to talk about it. She knows that I've got it under control and that I'm getting bombarded with information. We don't really talk did too much. She'll throw her two cents in every so often, I'll tell her to shut up. We do other fun stuff. We just do a whole bunch of other stuff that's really fun.

Q. Does she still play?

TAYLOR DENT: She still plays. I think she just won a 45-and-over. She cheats, though. She's too good. It's cheating. I tell her, she has to play with 35-and-overs, because she hits the ball so hard. It's not fair.

Q. Where did she win?

TAYLOR DENT: She won down in San Diego. I think there was like a national tournament down in La Jolla. She got a gold ball for it. My younger brother I think lost the gold ball already. So... that was nice of him, huh?

Q. Do you have someone else than your dad? Do you have someone else who works with you?

TAYLOR DENT: I'd like to say I get a lot of information. I filter it myself. I get a lot of information from a lot of different people. But I wouldn't say that there's one particular coach that I have. I try and filter it myself, see what's best for my game because I really do play a unique style. I know my dad played that same style back in his day, but times have changed. The game today requires focus on different things than it did back then. I think I've learned so much through my personal experiences playing, trying to play this style, serve-and-volley style, that I feel like I know more about it than a lot of people do. But I still, you know, talk to people and get information, pick their brain and see what they have to say. If it sounds interesting or if it opens my eyes, then I go, "Oh, okay, yeah." But I'm pretty much, you know, doing my own thing right now with the assistance of others.

Q. Do you travel solo?

TAYLOR DENT: I have a buddy traveling with me. He's just a guy I've known since I was eight years old. We're like brothers. He's traveling with me. He keeps me in line. He makes sure I'm drinking all the right fluids, not going out too late, and making sure I have a good time, too.

Q. What is the level of celebrity for Taylor Dent when you go to the Newport Beach plaza?

TAYLOR DENT: Newport Beach plaza? I don't know. Are we going object a scale from 0 to 10? I'd say one out of every thousand people might recognize me there. I'd have to say a 1, .5.

Q. Do you think there's more pressure on Lleyton Hewitt? He's the last Aussie. His country almost expects him to get into finals. Do you think there's more pressure on him than you?

TAYLOR DENT: I don't really know. I think you kind of put the pressure on yourself. If he lets that affect him, then, yeah, he's going to have a whole bunch more pressure than me, because I try and not let the outside factors really come into the match. But he's so good and he's so experienced that I don't think he'll let that happen. So, I mean, but if you're looking on paper, yeah, he's the higher seed, higher ranked, he's won this tournament before. So, yeah, on paper he's definitely got all the weight on his shoulders.

Q. Considering your preparation, can you explain your best showing at Wimbledon?

TAYLOR DENT: I honestly can't. Like I said yesterday or two days ago, strange things always seem to happen. I come in here with fairly low expectations, thinking, oh, my body feels terrible, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, you just kind of eke through matches. That's the way sports are. Funny things seem to happen.

Q. What are your expectations going into the next match?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, you know, Lleyton's got the best of me in our head to head for sure, but I've won the last one. That gives me some hope out there. I feel like if I play very solid tennis, then things might happen.

Q. You get into a fifth set with Lleyton on Monday. He's won so many big matches just because of mental toughness, because he believes that he's the guy who is going to come through at the end. How are you going to confront that?

TAYLOR DENT: I'm just going to have to try and match him mentally tough because I think that's what it's all about in the fifth set. Obviously if you're there, you're playing as good as your opponent. Two sets apiece. I'm going to have to match him and try and out-mentally tough him on the big points. That's bottom line what it comes down to.

Q. Is his backhand pass one of the toughest shots you've faced?

TAYLOR DENT: In his game, I think his backhand pass is probably -- just his backhand side is probably his best shot. In the game, I'd say, yeah, you'd be just minor fractions between him and Agassi, Nalbandian. You know, you could pick any one of those guys to have the best backhand.

Q. Do his c'mons annoy you or not bother you at all?

TAYLOR DENT: That's his deal. You know, that's what he does. If he thinks he needs to do that to fire himself up, if he knows he needs to do that, everybody's trying to win out there. I'm not going to try to tell him how to win matches. He knows how to do that better than I do. That's his deal.

Q. Have you ever chummed around with Lleyton before?

TAYLOR DENT: No, not really. We haven't really hung around. I think we both like our privacy a lot. Getting two people who like their privacy to hang out's not going to happen very often.

Q. Name of your friend?


Q. Are you at your ideal weight?

TAYLOR DENT: I actually haven't weighed myself. But I'd have to say no, just because I haven't been doing any training or anything like that. I'd like to lose probably five, ten pounds. I feel like, like I said a couple days ago, I'm too scared to look at the scale right now.

Q. The last time you felt you were at that place?

TAYLOR DENT: Last time I felt was actually like in the beginning of this year. I worked really hard, been working with the same physical trainer for a while, worked really hard. But, you know, when you're up -- sitting down for two months straight, I tried not to eat, but a big kid, got to eat my meals.

Q. Can you feel that here at Wimbledon?

TAYLOR DENT: I feel like I'm actually moving great. I feel like I'm pretty springy out there, tracking down a lot of drop volleys and moving good. I guess that's a good sign. So if I lose that extra five, ten pounds, I'll be moving even faster.

Q. Are you for the David Wells or John Daly school of guys who tried to drop weight and get in shape?

TAYLOR DENT: John Daly, God!

Q. To be more comfortable playing at the natural weight, not trying to bust your gut every single day.

TAYLOR DENT: I just tend to think it's a fine line between spending your time too much training and getting the right weight and executing your game the best you can. I think there's a fine line. If you go one way, you're going to run into problems. It's just a fine line. It's a juggling act. Right now I've been working so hard to get my game down because I feel like when I'm executing well, I'm extremely tough to beat. That's kind of been my priority at the moment, and then as soon as I feel like I've kind of got that under control, then, boom, fitness is number one.

End of FastScripts….

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