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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tour pro Dent to join UA tennis

    Taylor Dent
    Taylor Dent

    After what has been a frustrating season for the UA men’s tennis team, it got some exciting news yesterday. ATP Tour pro Taylor Dent will join the team as a volunteer assistant coach beginning next fall.

    Dent, a good friend of assistant coach Tom Lloyd, told him the news yesterday.

    “”We first talked about it about three weeks ago,”” Lloyd said. “”Then I called his agent and made sure we weren’t conflicting with anything, and then I talked to him (yesterday) and he said, ‘Yeah, cool. That sounds great.’

    “”It’s an opportunity for he and I, good friends, to work together. That’s the main reason he’s coming out.””

    Dent, who has been ranked as high as No. 21 in the world, has been inactive for over a year due to two fractures in his back.

    After undergoing back surgery in March, Dent is expecting to be back on the courts once again by the fall, when he will begin splitting his time between the professional tour and working with the Arizona tennis team.

    Since getting back to the pro tour remains Dent’s primary goal, he said the position with Arizona is “”far from a full-time thing.””

    “”It’s kind of an honorary thing,”” he said. “”If I have time, I’ll just pop down there and help the kids out. Or if I happen to be in the same place as the team I’ll help them out then. I’ll just try to help out in any way I can.””

    If all goes well with his rehab and he does make it back to the tour, Dent will be making stops in Tucson between ATP Tour tournaments. The time spent with the team during these periods will be limited. However, the pro season is idle during November and December, so Dent will use this break to spend time with the Wildcats.

    Although the team will not be his main focus, Dent said he took the position because it “”sounded like fun. I’ve never been a part of a team aspect like this before where it’s a real big deal. The only thing I did like this was high school tennis my freshman year, so it’s kind of different for me, and if I can help the kids out that would be fun too.””

    With very little experience with team tennis other than Davis Cup competition, Dent said he is excited about the idea of finally being part of a team.

    “”I don’t really know what to expect,”” he said, “”but I’d like to get excited about being a part of the Wildcat tradition and to help make the tennis there a powerhouse and hopefully start competing for national titles. That would be pretty exciting for me.””

    As far as the team is concerned, Dent could be just what Arizona needs to start becoming a more competitive team. In addition to providing invaluable advice on the court, head coach Tad Berkowitz said his presence could help with recruiting.

    “”He’s one of the best players in the United States,”” Berkowitz said. “”I think a lot of recruits would want to come to a program where they would have the opportunity to work with a name and a player of his caliber.””

    The opportunity of having Dent with the team has sparked excitement among the Arizona players as well. Dent is known to be one of the best serve and volley players in the game, sophomore Peter Zimmer said and having him helping out will “”be a huge advantage.””

    “”His game is really aggressive and about moving forward,”” Zimmer said. “”I think all of us players could work on moving to the net. To have someone of his game style helping us out will be huge.””

    Zimmer also said the team should benefit from Dent’s vast experience.

    “”With experience comes wisdom and then that wisdom gets shared with us,”” he said, “”so it seems pretty impossible that we wouldn’t benefit from that.””

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