All in the family for Dents

Tennis academy launches Monday for former CdM High standout and tennis professional Taylor Dent.

January 28, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Fans who follow Taylor Dent on Twitter or "like" him on Facebook lately have been treated to his thoughts on the Australian Open.

They're observations not everyone would have on the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year. Then again, not everyone played professional tennis for over a decade and reached as high as No. 21 in the world.

Dent is back living in the Eastbluff community of Newport Beach now, a stone's throw from where he competed at Corona del Mar High in 1996 and became just the third player ever to win a CIF Individuals title as a freshman.

He retired from the tour last November. On a recent afternoon at The Tennis Club Newport Beach, he reflected on being a family man.

"I have no regrets about the decision that I made," said Dent, 29. "Am I missing it out there? Absolutely I'm missing it. I love to compete, and I love playing the game of tennis at the highest level. But, honestly, I love being a good husband more and I love being a good father more."


His father, Phil Dent, chimed in.

"Did you notice he didn't say he likes being a good son as well?" Phil quipped, which elicited a quick smirk and an equally quick comeback from Taylor.

"That's not super-important to me, honestly," the younger Dent said.

Dent's wife, Jenny, also smiled. These family moments are more common now that the trio of former tennis professionals are all together in Newport Beach.

But local tennis players will want to come to the Dent Tennis Academy, which opens its doors Monday at The Tennis Club, for the instruction provided by the trio of talented coaches.

Taylor Dent, who former longtime CdM Coach Tim Mang called the best player he's ever coached, won four Assn. of Tennis Professionals singles titles in his career.

Phil, who won ATP 25 doubles titles during his own 14-year pro tennis career, formerly taught at Los Caballeros in Fountain Valley. He has long been one of the more respected coaches in Southern California; he's the one the Newport Beach Breakers' Maria Sharapova went to when she needed help with her serve.

Jenny (Hopkins) Dent, who gave birth to the couple's son, Declan, a year ago, won several International Tennis Federation titles in her career and made it to No. 52 in the world in the women's game.

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