Wow, what a nice long chat with James. He chatted for the entire half hour allotted.
Here’s the transcript (with a few minor typographical corrections
Thanks to everyone for signing on and for you interest in tennis and in me!
Erin, Sudbury MA
I was able to see you play with the Boston Lobsters this summer...was that team a good experience?
That was a great experience being back in Boston and playing at Harvard, where I haven't been in a while. I played with my brother and I wish we could have won, but it was great and I hope to be able to play team tennis again.
How did the matches vs. Federer in Cincy and Roddick in DC will help in your Open preparation?
They are two of the best players in the world and getting them on hardcourts will help me know what I need to do best at the Open. I'm close, and hopefully playing here at the Pilot Pen will help me get a little closer to playing with the Roddicks and Federer's of the world.
Abid (Fredericton, NB Canada)
Who do you hang out with the most from the tour, off the court
My best friend is Marty Fish, he lives near me in Tampa and we play cards a lot. All the young Americans are my friends and we have a good time when we're on the road. And I've played doubles with Mark Merklin a few times and he's a good friend, as well.
andrew. harrisburg pa
what would you consider your biggest moment has been in your career?
I'd say playing and winning my first Davis Cup match. Playing in Winston-Salem about a month after 9/11 there was an extreme sense of patriotism, and that was the last time I can remember being nervous on the court. It's something special when you get to play for something bigger than yourself and represent your country.
Twonk (New Jersey)
I'd think you and Sharapova would make a popular mixed doubles team. How 'bout it?
I think that would be a whole lot of fun! But the only chance for mixed doubles is at the Grand Slams and we're more focused on singles right now. Maybe later in our careers, if she'd have me. But she’s probably got a whole lot of other offers!
Lauren (Chicago, IL)
I just want to offer you a big WELCOME BACK. It's great to see you back on the court and playing so well. Do you feel your time away from the game last year has given you an even greater drive to play and just enjoy your time out there, win or lose?
It's definitely given me a little different perspective on enjoying things. Young players tend to think it will last forever but last year made me realize that there's a finite amount of time out here. I need to enjoy it while I can because not a lot of people get to do what I do -- travel the world and do something I love -- so I have to enjoy it. What gets me going is knowing I've worked to get the most out of my talent and done my best, so I just want to work hard and enjoy the next few years no matter what.
What would be your dream match, who would it be and where would it be.
Probably against Andre Agassi, someone who I enjoy playing because he hits the ball clean, gives great points and would allow me to use my speed. His serve won't blow youaway and the speed makes for a great match. He's also one of the best guys on the tour and that would make it even better, and I'd like to play him at the US Open, which I grew up watching.
Was there a moment or moments growing up that convinced you that you could make it in this sport?
Not growing up, because I really didnt' think I had a chance to do this. As I got older I realized how hard it would be to be a pro player, but when I was winning the 18s I still didn't know it. When agents started talking to me I didn't know why, but when I did well at the college level and played okay in some futures events in the summer I started to realize I maybe had a future in front of me in tennis.
What would you like to do after your tenniscareer?
I'm not sure, yet. I'd like to finish my degree at Harvard, but other than that I'm not sure. I don't know if I'll be married or whatever, but beyond that I just don't know. I'd like to stay in sports, though, because I just love it and I'd like to stay around other athletes.
Abid (Fredericton, NB Canada)
Who was tougher to play; Sampras or Federer?
I never played Pete. I practiced against him quite a bit and that's a lot different. But Federer is one of those guys you have to play near-flawless tennis against to beat. Some guys you might not have to be at your best but with Federer you have to do everything right.
Abid (Fredericton, NB Canada)
Who were you favorite players growing up?
I loved watching Jim Courier because of how hard he worked, I loved Stefan Edbergs's sportsmanship and how he carried himself on the court. Those two were my favorites.
What were you studying at Harvard?
I was studying economics at the time, but if I go back I'll most likely change to sociology or African-American studies. Given the changes in my life I don't think I'll be going to business school, so econ is out.
Is there anyone that you really enjoy watching play tennis?
I enjoy watching Federer because it's like watching history as he chases Sampras' record. I also like watching Carlos Moya, who plays a bit like me, and Marat Safin because he's so unpredictable and one of the most talented guys out there.
Eve (Davao City)
do you eat a particular kind of food before a match?
I don't have a specific meal like Wade Boggs, but I like to get a lot of protein the night before and lots of carbs the day of the match. Bagels, fruit, that kind of stuff to give me some energy.
You think you'd ever be interested in college coaching down the road?
Maybe, because I had always planned on going back to Harvard and helping out. I always felt like I could help the other players when I was there, and now with my Davis Cup and tour experience I feel like I would have something to offer. I think I would definitely enjoy that.
what is your favorite european tournament and city to play in?
Favorite is probably Wimbledon. I love going to England because my mom is from there, and even though I don't always play well on grass. And prior to my injury there, Rome was at the top of the list, too. The history is amazing and so is the food.
Do you have any kind of friendship with the Williams sisters? Any talks with them ever about being a minority in tennis?
I do have a good relationship with both of them. They are great girls who enjoy life and tennis. Serena is an incredible competitor. I know her better than Venus, but we've become friends, too. And we do have a connection being minorities in a 'country-club' sport. They've inspired a lot of young black girls and I appreciate everything they do and everything they have to say.
What are your favorite sports teams? Are they all New England teams?
I was born in NY so I'm a huge Mets fan, and I was a huge Michael Jordan fan and am still a Bulls fan. I also cheer for the new York Giants, and now that I'm in Tampa I'm getting into hockey and am becoming a huge Lightning fan.
Lynn Austin, TX
Will you ever grow back your trademark dreads?
I don't know. Right now I enjoy how easy it is to get out of the shower and not have to worry about my hair! Ask me again in a few years and we'll see what happens.
Marlene (Richmond VA USA)
If you were in charge of mens professional tennis, what one thing would you make a priority to change?
I would shorten the season a bit, so that after the US Open there is only the Davis Cup and Masters Cup. Guys are playing so many tournaments that there are a lot of injuries, so fewer tournaments would mean less injury and would make the tennis easier to follow. I would also change the Davis Cup format a little, because it's a little hard to follow right now with all the different schedules and teams. Make it more like the Ryder Cup, every two years, or condense it into two or three weeks.
How many weeks in a year do you spend at home?
I'm probably in Tampa training about 15-20 weeks out of the year and in Connecticut maybe 8-10 weeks out of the year. The rest are spent on the road.
Hi James, great to see you back on the tour! I have a quick question, how was it being in Xbox Top Spin and are you going to be in Top Spin2?
It was a lot of fun. I never thought I would see myself in a video game and it's cool to see myself there. That's a good game and hopefully I can get into the next one.
How would you rate you current game compared to where you want to be?
I think I'm getting close to where I want to be. I feel like I'm better now than when I was top 25 because there are things I've improved. I think it's only a matter of time before my ranking shows that, and I think I'm getting to a point where I can compete with the top 10 players in the world.
Toni Shreveport, LA
What do you think is contributing to all the injuries to tennis players today?
I think it's the grueling schedule that guys are forced to play. And the game is so much faster now that every week you're breaking down your body and you don't have much time to build it up first. You can't spend one month preparing and then 11 months tearing your body down and not expect to get injured. That's the major reason I said before that I would shorten the season and give guys a little more time to recover and take care of their bodies.
I have to run, but thanks to everyone for sending in the great questions and taking an interest in tennis!