Dents making tennis history


Richard Dunn

Amid our newsroom’s midsummer craziness with a new computer system

and page design, while operating with a scaled-down sports staff

because of vacations, we come up for air with our latest serve and

volley from our Costa Mesa headquarters.

Power-serving Taylor Dent of Newport Beach put his family in the

history books Sunday when he defeated fellow American James Blake,

6-1, 4-6, 6-4, in the Hall of Fame Championships at Newport, R.I., to

capture his first Association of Tennis Professionals Tour singles


Dent and his father, Phil, became the first father and son to win

ATP Tour singles titles in the open era. Phil Dent won three ATP Tour

events, was runner-up at the 1974 Australian Open and finished with a

dozen ATP doubles titles.

But the moment almost eluded Taylor. Phil Dent, an instructor at

Costa Mesa Tennis Center, was not in attendance at the International

Tennis Hall of Fame, and Taylor was unaware of his history-making


“Actually, I had no idea. I didn’t even know afterward,” said

Dent, the 1996 CIF Southern Section singles champion for Corona del

Mar High as a freshman, before turning pro two years later.

“My dad called me the next day as I was fighting my hangover and

he told me, ‘Hey, you put us in history yesterday.’ I thought that

was pretty neat. Not many people get to make history.”

Dent, during an ATP conference call, also said he has worked to

develop a new service motion to alleviate pressure on his back, which

has been a problem during his pro career.

“Before, in my old stance, I would drag my back foot up to my left

foot and I guess I had all my weight on my left leg and I was arching

back,” he said. “I have a pretty pronounced arch. That was putting a

lot of pressure on one spot, and I guess I had a couple of stress

fractures in my lower back. So I have changed it by just leaving that

foot back there, instead of dragging it up and it takes all the

pressure off that one spot.”

Dent, who last year exploded on the grass at Wimbledon and

recorded a 144-mph serve, the fastest ever clocked at the All England

Club, has tailed off in that department.

“I can’t serve it as big, but I am working on my volleys a lot and

I don’t think I have to serve as big,” he said. “I think it’s a

blessing in disguise, personally, just because I don’t have to rely

on hitting un-returnables now to win my service game.”

* Newport Beach Tennis Club’s Director of Tennis, Scott Davis,

won the Wimbledon men’s 35s doubles title this year with former ATP

partner David Pate, with whom Davis reached No. 1 in the world 11

years ago.

Davis and Pate defeated Great Britain’s Jeremy Bates and Nick

Fulwood, 6-3, 7-6.