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June 27, 2005

Taylor Dent


Q. Just your assessment of what happened out there today?

TAYLOR DENT: Well, basically I was talking, you know, with my buddy about it. And three-quarters of the match I felt like I played, you know, fairly solid tennis. But, you know, there were times in each set where I was just helping him win. I was giving away points on my serve, missing volleys, hitting double-faults. And I was, you know, missing a lot of shots from the baseline at stages. You know, I don't know whether that's just how I played today or me coming back and still being a little bit rusty. But in the beginning of the year, I wasn't doing that. The matches that I was -- tournaments I was doing well in, I was playing solid tennis pretty much all the sets.

Q. Can you compare it to your win over him in Australia, what you did there?

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, I mean, it's basically kind of just what I said. I mean, in Australia I was being solid. You know, I wasn't missing from the baseline. And I wasn't giving him my service games at any stage during the match. I think he broke me once, and he hit like four winners to win the game. So that's the biggest difference. And that's all it takes. I mean, that's all it takes out here. He's an unbelievable player. And if I'm helping him out a little bit, he's going to run all over me.

Q. Considering you're not at a hundred percent, what does it say? This is your best showing here.

TAYLOR DENT: It's great. You know, I mean, obviously this is one of the -- I mean, not to downplay my opponents, but this is one of the kinder draws I've had to get this far. I mean, before, you know, I've had Hewitt here before, I've had Agassi, Roddick. You know, I've had some rough draws here. But, you know, again, it's encouraging to be beating the quality players and competing with Hewitt not playing, you know, great tennis from me. So it's encouraging.

Q. Can you compare the conditions to how they were when you played that five-set match? Are things much slower than then out here or is it basically the same to you?

TAYLOR DENT: I mean, I can't really remember. I think I've got the beginning stages of Alzheimer's as it is. But it's definitely slower than last year. I mean, I can remember last year. I feel like it's definitely slower than then.

Q. Tim was saying he basically feels like a pure serve and volleyer cannot win here any more. I'm just wondering your thoughts on that.

TAYLOR DENT: I think a pure serve and volleyer can win anywhere, I mean, otherwise I wouldn't be serving and volleying any more. I just think that you have to be executing at a high level and being solid. You know, like today, my first-serve percentage at times was just -- I haven't seen any of the stats, but my first-serve percentage at times just wasn't nonexistent. I wasn't getting any in. I don't care if you're playing on glass; against these guys, you're going to lose every time to a serve and volleyer because you count on first serves. You know, but even on clay. If I'm going out there and I'm serving well, I like my chances against anybody.

Q. In terms of the conditions, they're not helpful; they've gotten harder and harder?

TAYLOR DENT: It's understandable. The tour wants to see longer points. The only way to do that is to slow down the conditions. Unfortunately, that kind of makes tennis one-dimensional. It takes out the serve and volleyers just because we like having the advantage on serve. We like not giving the guys great looks at returns so we have easier volleys. There's kind of, you know, a fine line.

Q. As the last bastion of serving and volleying, as a tennis fan, is it just sad that Wimbledon of all places for you, this was the place where you came to see serve and volley, and we're not seeing a lot of it.

TAYLOR DENT: No, we're not seeing a lot of it. I think tennis -- all sports go through waves. You see them mess around with the baseball, American baseball. All of a sudden they're hitting 10 home runs a game. I just think tennis is going to go through waves. Maybe one day they'll shrink the racquet size. They could have the conditions as slow as they want and that's going to help the serve and volleyers because now these guys, you can't have all this racquet to hit the ball. You know, something like that.

Q. What is the most important serving stat to you? Is it first serve percentage?

TAYLOR DENT: Definitely not. That's misleading because I could kick every first serve in and get them crunched right at my feet and win 40% of those points. I don't really think there's a stat for it. If there is, it may be aces. Because when you're hitting a lot of aces, you're hitting very accurate serves. Not only are you getting aces, but you're getting free points or easy volleys because guys are stretched out. I remember watching Sampras play a match against Courier on the clay, and I was sitting there watching Sampras beat Courier in the quarters. I was sitting there watching, Courier for four sets did not get one clean sniff at Sampras' serve. That doesn't necessarily mean he's hitting aces, but that means that he's putting them on the spot and Courier is barely getting the ball back. Sampras comes in, thanks very much. I don't think there's one big stat. But, you know, it's just more of a feel thing. You can tell when somebody's on someone's serve or not.

Q. You look at the stats, the guys that are hitting the most aces are falling by the wayside.

TAYLOR DENT: Yeah. I mean, but then again you have to remember those guys around serving and volleying. They could hit their aces, and then in a game, you know, not hit any aces and get broken that game, then all of a sudden... You can't really rely on one stat. You just have to watch the match and say, "Okay, he's serving effectively."

Q. When you're playing well, what serving stat is going the best for you?

TAYLOR DENT: First-serve win points is probably what is going best for me. And actually just win points on serve. Because you can't have a high percentage of win points on the serve if the guy is getting a good look and you're having to play tough balls all the time. You win those points about 55% on your own serve. On first serve, if you're above 80, that's great. On second serve, if you're around 60, that's phenomenal. Actually, there you go, that's it (smiling).

Q. Aces are telling, but maybe overrated?

TAYLOR DENT: You know, aces are kind of telling, but overall win percentage on first and second serves is where it's at, I think.

Q. How do you like Hewitt's chances after the way he played today?

TAYLOR DENT: He played very well. I don't know who he plays next.

Q. Lopez.

TAYLOR DENT: Oh, okay. That's going to be a great match. Lopez seems to be playing very well. But Hewitt's going to make him play a lot of balls. I mean, I am like 0 for 20 this trip on picking matches. I don't want to jinx him or anybody.

Q. Were you upset in the fourth set where there was an overrule were the point was --

TAYLOR DENT: I thought the umpire handled the situation poorly. I don't disagree with the call at the end of the day. But that's not the right sign to send to all the other linesmen around. If Hewitt is going to complain and start to get all these calls, that's just unfair advantage for him. And that's exactly what happened there. I'm not disagreeing with the call. I'm disagreeing with how the umpire handled the situation. There's no question that the ball was out of my reach. But the umpire didn't change his call until after Hewitt started complaining about it.

Q. Do you think that will encourage players to protest more?

TAYLOR DENT: That is very rare. Very rare occasion. That's the only reason I don't complain more because it doesn't happen that much. I don't know how many matches he's done on Centre Court. I don't know if the situation got to him, if he's intimidated by Hewitt or whatever. He handled that situation poorly.

Q. Has that happened in other matches with Lleyton and yourself, where he's been able to do that?

TAYLOR DENT: Not with me. Not that I can remember. Not that I can remember, so... Again, there's Alzheimer's for you right there (smiling).

Q. Do you think Hewitt does intimidate the umpires?

TAYLOR DENT: The chair? I mean, again, I haven't played him or noticed that enough. But his personality is indicative to doing that. You know, he's fired up, he's yelling. I don't know what he said to one of the linesmen out there today, but I heard the crowd was kind of, "Ooh." You know, that's intimidating. Whether that works for him or against him. If I was a linesman, I'd definitely make the calls a little bit rougher on Mr. Hewitt.

Q. Gamesmanship used to be such a big part of the game in the old days. Do you think it's still part of the game with anyone else but Lleyton?

TAYLOR DENT: Maybe. Maybe not. I mean, you ask guys like Connors, McEnroe, my father, they'll say no. We're not allowed to do anything out there. If we look sideways at the umpire sometimes we'll get a warning. We can't do much out there.

Q. Do you think the rules should be lightened up just a little bit to show some personality?

TAYLOR DENT: I think the rules should be changed to whatever the spectators want to see. We're in an entertainment business. If the spectators want to see us go crazy out there, lighten the rules up. If not, then leave it the way it is.

Q. You've seen plenty of tennis. What do you think?

TAYLOR DENT: My opinion is it's probably a little tight, a little conservative. But it's right there. There's a fine line. You can see some matches where Marat is going crazy out there, and fans love it - some fans love it, some fans don't. I think it could be loosened up a little bit, but I think you don't want to send a bad message. You don't want to see kids at home all of a sudden watching tennis seeing kids throwing their racquets over the fence. All of a sudden, the kid gets out there, misses a forehand, throwing the racquet. I mean, I wouldn't want to see that anyway.

Q. You didn't ever do that?

TAYLOR DENT: Never ever.

End of FastScripts….

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