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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, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

"That's one of our strengths," Taylor Dent said. "You're getting attention from, I would argue, the most knowledgeable family in tennis. It doesn't take us long to diagnose a tennis player. I can see someone hit for five minutes and say, you know, 'I think it would be be beneficial for your game to do X, Y and Z.' Because of that experience, we can get more kids playing more points on courts."

Mang is now an advisor at The Tennis Club. After Dent's retirement, he set up a meeting with The Tennis Club CEO/President Charlie Sharp as well as Paul Ramsey, president of the Ramsey Tennis Group which owns the club.

Taylor Dent said he had already kicked around the idea of starting an academy with his dad years earlier, while Taylor was sidelined on the tour after back problems in 2006. This time, things fell into place.

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Dent said he couldn't imagine a better venue than The Tennis Club, with its 24 courts off Pacific Coast Highway. His wife agreed.

"I'm from Kansas City," Jenny Dent said. "Coming out here to Newport Beach, Taylor used to call it 'God's country,' and it really is God's country. Right now, my son wouldn't be able to be outside playing around in the middle of January in Kansas City. The weather here has been unbelievable. I don't think you could find a better place to start an academy … I'm very excited about this opportunity."

Children and adults alike are welcome at the academy, which features six stations: serving, returning, singles points, skill-building drills, doubles/net skills and cross-training.

Taylor Dent said he wants to avoid some of the negatives associated with academies, like having children stuck on a court and not hitting a lot.

Tennis is not a cheap sport to play, yet Dent said his prices are competitive.

A two-and-a-half hour session costs $70, or a five-hour day session costs $120.

Those prices go down if students purchase 10- or 20-session packages, and private lessons are also available.

The Dent Tennis Academy will face competition. Advantage, Woodbridge and the Racquet Club of Irvine all have well-known programs in neighboring Irvine.

"They're pumping out tennis players like crazy," said CdM Coach Brian Ricker, who faces many of those products in the Pacific Coast League when his team plays rival University High. "Our high school kids who want to play at the next level, they all go to Irvine."

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