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Taylor Dent: An Inspiration to Anyone

I love watching sports, I love playing sports, and I appreciate and respect athletes that play the game with energy, passion, and dedication. These are the values that I try and instill in my students and staff every single day at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Having Taylor Dent practicing on courts right next to them is a breath of fresh air to our students.

Dent retired from professional tennis in early November to spend more time with his wife, Jenny, and their newborn, Declan. After player for 12 years on the pro tour, where he was ranked as high as #21 in the world, Dent decided to hang up the racket. You could make a movie about his career though!

After ascending into the top 30 he spent nearly two years battling against serious back injuries and going through two back surgeries in 2006 and 2007. Many, including his doctors, thought he would never play again, but he never gave up hope.

"How many people get second chances to pursue something they love, and something they're relatively good at? I jumped on," said Dent. "That was kind of the best day and the toughest day for me because I got back out on the court, and I saw how far I had come - backwards - with my year in bed, and the years away from tennis."

He reentered the game in 2008, playing a handful of tournaments before returning full-time in 2009. He won his first tour-level match in Brisbane and then came to life later that year at the Sony Ericsson Open where he won five straight matches, upsetting two top-20 players in Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo before falling to Roger Federer. He then worked himself back into the top 100 on the Challenger circuit and eventually got up to #70 in the world.

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