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August 30, 2010

Taylor Dent


T. DENT/A. Falla
6-4, 7-5, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. He had a big first round at Wimbledon.

Q. Happy to make sure he didn't have a big first round here.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah, actually after I got up two sets, I was thinking, It would be ironic if I lost from two sets to love up on this guy and then you get one back.
I actually thought, that, you know, for a while I was scratching my head. I was putting in some of my best serves and they were getting rifled back a foot from the baseline coming just as fast. I'm like, What am I doing here? I feel like I'm hitting good serves, and I'm not getting any reward from it whatsoever.
But after I was able to hang in there, battle through, just be a little bit more picky with how I was serving, I felt like he lost a little bit of enthusiasm in that third set.

Q. Do you not want to get involved in baseline rallies? I know it's difficult to get in now with these balls and all of rest of it. What is your philosophy, get in as soon as you can?
TAYLOR DENT: For me, I talk with Jenny and my dad about this all the time. I would never coach anybody the way I feel like I should play. You know what I mean? Like I feel like I'm breaking all the rules out here.
But my basic philosophy is this: you can't just come in on a whim these days. Guys are too good. So you have to come in off of something, off of something good to great. And I just feel like there's a couple of things, you know, that factor into that situation.
One is the longer I stay at the baseline, you know, probably the percentages, my win percentage is going to go down. So That leaves me with, Okay, now I've got to be aggressive.
You know, it just boils down to I'll play defense, I'm fine playing defense. But as soon as I get half a chance to take the offense, I'm going to give it a rip. I'm going to hit the back fence sometimes. That's fine.
Over the course of my career, over the course of a match, I'd rather be grabbing opportunities to take offense than being neutral. Because ideally, I want to be finishing points with a high volley or coming in. I don't want to be playing low volleys or hitting inside-out forehands from, you know, outside the alley.
I weigh 40 to 50 more pounds than these guys out here. They're all like 160, you know. So it's just I don't want to do the moving. I want to do the attacking. I want to come in. I want to knock off volleys. That's it.

Q. How many times did you serve-volley today, would you say?
TAYLOR DENT: Well, I always intend to serve-volley a fair bit, especially off my first serve. But like I said, he was returning phenomenally. So I'm like, well, you know, I'd rather at least just give myself a chance to play the point here, because he was just hitting winners left and right.
So I didn't end up serve-volleying at all.

Q. I didn't see it at all.
TAYLOR DENT: Yeah. I did a few, but not a whole lot. I mean, my game plan changed after I saw how well he was returning to go heavy first serve, hopefully get a short ball, hit that, and come in. That was the game plan after I saw how well he was returning.

Q. Is that something you thought coming in you would have to do?
TAYLOR DENT: Every match. Every match.

Q. We were reminiscing about last year's epic. What is your health situation now?
TAYLOR DENT: As far as injuries go, 100%. You know, I don't feel anything that's worth talking about. As far as my fitness goes, God, I just wish I was over the hump. I feel like tennis doesn't give us -- as tennis players, we don't have an off-season. So if you want to improve your game, get fitter, you have to do it while you're playing matches.
And that's kind of what I'm doing now. I feel like I'm always on a tightrope of doing too much, doing too little. I just -- you know, that is what I'm struggling with right now more than anything.

Q. What is the difference between getting in shape playing matches and being in the gym?
TAYLOR DENT: Well, during matches, I mean, if I had it my way or, you know, if I was at the position that Federer was, it's all about feeling fresh, it's all about just making sure you're recovering well, and maintaining as best you can.
But I have analyzed where I am. Maintaining's just not good enough for me. I need to jump up a level. So if I was in an off-season, I wouldn't have to worry about feeling flat for Alejandro Falla. You know, I mean, who cares? I'm going out to play practice. I would just break my body down, break it down until I can't move, and then I'd recover.
But out here it's like, Okay, I need to feel fresh for Falla, but I also need to get to that next level in fitness. That's where the balancing act begins.

Q. This is not in any way an accusation. Just curious. Mardy Fish drops that weight; does anything go through your mind? Is that not even an option?
TAYLOR DENT: I've tried -- because that's been -- I've heard that my whole career. You know, Taylor is too heavy. I have tried desperately to drop weight. I mean, it's just I'm a big guy.
You know, the trainers that I've worked with, they all say my ideal playing weight, my ideal fitness level is 217 to 220 pounds.
I mean, you know, I was 215 pounds right before -- you know, in 2005 before I was done, 215 pounds, and I was 6% body fat, just over 6% body fat. I mean, where am I going to lose more weight?
When I was hurt and recovering from surgery, Jenny didn't want me to blow up, so she made me do those precooked meals. I'm eating a thousand calories a day. I did that for almost a year and I did no exercise, so I've lost all my muscle tone. I'm eating a thousand calories a day. I have no fat on me, and I weigh 195 pounds.
So I've kind of given up in a sense to say, Okay, I'm not going to weigh 180 pounds; I'm not going to weigh 175 pounds; I'm not going to be like these guys. So I just have to be stronger, I have to be more physical on the court, and I have to bully them around, you know.

Q. What was the most desperate measure you've ever taken to lose weight?
TAYLOR DENT: The most desperate measure (laughter)? There's a nutritionist I work with down at Bollettieri's, and it's always an experiment. We're always trying to do the balancing act.
The bottom line is, if you cut out too many calories, you can't work out. You need to get fitter by working out, and you need to improve my game by working out. So if I'm eating a thousand calories a day, who cares? My forehand's going to suck, my serve is going to suck, so who cares?
But the most desperate measure, I said any carb I get is going to be from a vegetable. I lasted three days. I was like this on the court. I couldn't do anything. I walked into the lady, and she said, What are you doing? I said, I'm not having any carbs. I'm trying to do it through broccoli. She just started laughing. She's like, There's no energy in those things.

Q. You have Soderling next. What is your head-to-head?
TAYLOR DENT: Head-to-head? The way he beat me at the French could have counted for two, but I think he's got one on me. I think that's all we've played. But I don't know. I'm horrible at that stuff.

Q. When you're going against Soderling, you really made some advances. What is your thought about him? Do you scout him? Do you do anything? Do you just do your thing?
TAYLOR DENT: My thought about him is he's a great player. He's solid. There's not really a lot of holes in his game right now. There used to be the errant ball two or three times in the back fence. That doesn't happen anymore. He's solid.
It's something I always tell Jenny and my dad when we're talking about scouting guys. The reality of the matter is I'm not good enough to worry about the other guy. That's the reality of the matter. I don't feel like I'm reliable enough in my game to sacrifice just thinking about my execution out there, what I have to do to play and impose my game.
I'm fortunate, because if I do execute my game, there's not a whole lot guys can do in the first place. But, you know, as soon as I get better, more reliable out on the court to where I feel very confident with what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, then I'll start to maybe pick apart guy's games.
To be honest, I'm just not at that level right now.

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