Taylor Dent's resurgence on the professional tennis scene is quickly becoming one of the best comeback stories of the decade. After a fractured vertebra left him bed-ridden for nearly a year, Dent made a decision to undergo a risky back surgery that doctors said would likely end his tennis career. The procedure went surprisingly well--well enough for doctors to suggest his return to tennis, but Dent still had a mountain to climb:
Graeme Lauriston, a therapist at IMG, said, "When I first saw him I was skeptical on how far we were actually going to get him, or how high a level we were going to get him on the court, but we kind of took it one day at a time and little step by little step."
Dent's steps are turning to strides; at the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami he won five matches in a row before falling to world #1 Roger Federer, including a win over Spain's Tommy Robredo. As he continues to progress he understands how fortunate he is to be back. This wisdom has helped his mentality not only in playing but also his preparation as well as his outlook on the entire situation. He spoke on the matter during an interview for Deuce Magazine:
"How many people get second chances to pursue something they love, and something they're relatively good at? I jumped on.." said Dent. Above all, he has prioritised what he calls his "perspective and mental goals" for 2010. "My biggest goal is to keep looking at my game as a work in progress and make sure that the weakest parts of my game are improving, and I keep the strengths up there," he said "I feel like in the past, I've gotten in trouble with not improving because I've gotten too emotional with my game and made a couple excuses of why it didn't work that day. I really want to avoid that and stay as fact based as possible in this next year."
With a current world ranking of 76, Dent's progress has led many to believe that he can make it back into the top 25. His back is fixed, his health intact, and, at 28-years-old, his mental game is stronger than ever.
Keep it going Taylor, we'll be watching!