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Brett Hansen-Dent, Millennium Hall of Fame

February 05, 2001

Richard Dunn

Having come up from this end before, Brett Hansen-Dent knows all

about the trials and tribulations of playing the challenger circuit in

men's professional tennis.

These days, though, he's older and wiser, and has more healed muscles

and joints than his CIF Southern Section singles championship form could

have ever imagined over a decade ago.

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But the former Newport Harbor High sensation hopes that this time, his

third tour of pro tennis duty, will be the charm.

"Oh, yeah, I'm serious (about another comeback). You have to be these

days," Hansen-Dent said. "I was serious before, but I was kind of a young

guy and didn't know too much. Then, I played with a bad leg. You don't

realize how important it is to be in shape to track down all the balls,

if you can even get to the balls."

Following his 1990 CIF singles title for Newport Harbor under Coach

Charlie Bleiker, Hansen-Dent played at UCI for two years and then briefly

joined the globe-trotting satellite and challenger circuits in 1993.

But Hansen-Dent, ranked No. 1 in 1990 in the boys 18s in Southern

California, got a rude awakening. His expenses added up to more than his

winnings, but Hansen-Dent was able to get his NCAA eligibility back and

played for USC in 1994 and '95, earning All-American honors in doubles

both years and in singles in '95.

After college, Hansen-Dent tried the challenger tour (the minor

leagues of the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour) again.

In 1995, Hansen-Dent was recruited by his former UCI coach, Greg

Patton, to play World TeamTennis for the Idaho Sneakers. Hansen-Dent

cashed in with an award-winning summer, winning the men's singles

championship to highlight his pro career.

In '96, Hansen-Dent reached the doubles finals of a Grand Prix in

Coral Springs, Fla., losing to Australia's Mark Woodforde and Todd

Woodbridge.

But, constantly hampered by injuries, he underwent knee surgery in

1997 and lasted about 1 1/2 years in his second stint on the challenger

circuit.

He started teaching, working as a pro in La Jolla and living in San

Diego with his mother, Bettyann, a former top-10 player on the women's

tour.

After taking about two years off, Hansen-Dent returned to the rigors

of pro tennis a third time in 2000. "Now I'm back and starting all over

again," said Hansen-Dent, happy to be healthy and playing again.

"Teaching slows you down a little. It helps with your skills, but

you're just going through the motions. It doesn't help (your game)."

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