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post #45 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2008, 04:01 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Re: Cheering on James in 2008!

Oh I know. We watched the whole match. I never had hopes of him winning from the start because he looked like he was defeated before the first set was even over. But, I'm so happy for Mardy. I'm glad that if James had to go out it was to Mardy cuz I can't be upset cuz I'm so happy for him.

Here's his post match interview.
THE MODERATOR: Questions please.

Q. It seemed at times when the J Block people started really to get boisterous toward the end, that you almost looked visibly uncomfortable with it, because of the circumstances, who you were playing. I don't know if that was in the mix at all. Talk about sort of the emotional conflicts that were going on.

JAMES BLAKE: No, I wasn't -- yeah, I was uncomfortable about the circumstances because I didn't feel like I was playing the kind of tennis that they were used to seeing me play. It wasn't against anything they did.

I think the umpire warned them one time, and to be honest, I don't really feel that was appropriate. If they made one inappropriate comment, I know there were other a lot of other people in the stadium that made comments or spoke at the wrong time and they were singled out to be warned, when I think most times they behaved very fairly.

I was more uncomfortable the way I was playing. It's a tough feeling out there when you're the favorite, and you're expected, and you're not playing your best tennis, and can't summon your best tennis. There are some days you go out there and you feel like you can't quite string the points together that you need to, and can't make enough first serves and things don't seem to be going your way. That was why I was uncomfortable out there.

Q. Is there any element to playing such a good friend?

JAMES BLAKE: Maybe. I think it was more -- I didn't see the stats, but I guarantee he had a whole a lot of winners. He served great and returned great. Those are his two biggest weapons. He was doing them both well today. When he's doing that, he's taking me out of my rhythm, and playing the kind of tennis that got him to the finals of Indian Wells and beating a lot of top players.

You know, I knew that going in. Not that it was a friend of mine, but I've practiced with him a ton of times when he's done just that. I had that respect for him going in, and he proved why he can be very dangerous player.

Q. When you get past the disappointment in yourself, do you think that when you get a little bit removed from it that part of you will just be happy to see him advance this far for the first time here?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, usually if I lose in a Grand Slam, it's not the first thing I want to turn on, watching tennis. But I got three reasons to watch or maybe four. Sam is doing great and Mardy is doing great and Andy is doing great. I got reasons to tune back in. That'll give me something to do hopefully all of next week.

Usually I want to take my mind off of it, but it'll hopefully be a pleasant surprise to see one of them holding the trophy next week, and see how well they can all play.

I'm definitely proud of Mardy and Sam and Andy, and hopefully the Bryans can get another title here as well. I'm proud of the guys. I wish it was me. If it can't be me, let's hope it's them.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about a Beijing hangover. Do you feel now -- not that you would use it as an excuse but did that take more out of you than you might have expected?

JAMES BLAKE: No. Like I said before, this is Mardy taking it out of me. He didn't give me any rhythm and he served great when he needed to. He returned great. I didn't capitalize on a couple chances that I had. That 4-2 point in the breaker I just tried to push the return instead of going after it, like I had been. Before that I had maybe a breakpoint or two that I didn't take advantage of. He took advantage of it when he needed to.

It wasn't Beijing I don't think. It was Mardy playing some of his best tennis.

Q. Is there any reason that you wouldn't go Davis Cup if you're selected?

JAMES BLAKE: No. If I'm healthy, they pick me, I'm planning on heading over there.

Q. On TV they actually kind of said maybe it should be the end of the J Block. Does that bother you based on your sense...

JAMES BLAKE: I question their motivation for why it should be the end of the J Block. They raise money for charity. J Block, in my opinion, has brought enthusiasm to an already very enthusiastic nighttime crowd. They're, in my opinion, very respectful fans that are, yes, boisterous and raucous, but cheering fairly for American players.

Last week most of them were at New Haven cheering for Mardy when I wasn't there. So these are true tennis fans and know the game well, most of them, and have fun at it. So I don't understanding the reasoning why it would end when it's doing something positive for the sport, in my opinion. If someone can come here and have a serious discussion about why it's negative for the sport, then maybe we'll talk about disbanding it. But for right now the fact that my cancer research fund is getting funded by the T-shirts they're wearing, I'm going to do my best to keep them together.

Q. Can you state how important it was for Evian to be involved with that ceremony?

JAMES BLAKE: It's great that Evian is taking a part in it, and I'm proud to be associated with a lot of great companies - Nike, Evian, Heineken, Dunlop. They've all supported me in many different charitable endeavors. For Evian to be supportive of the Harlem Junior Tennis Program means a lot to me. It's where I learned to play tennis. It seems like a short distance geographically from here, but a long way figuratively from the Harlem Junior Tennis Program to here, and I'm proud to have made that journey. And I hope there's many more in the future that can benefit from the funds that Evian has given make that journey as well.

Q. How did the J Block get started? Are they friends or fans?

JAMES BLAKE: These are some of my best friends, that I'll probably go to right now, and they're the ones probably the only people in the word, them and my mom, that are going to be able to console me right now and put a smile on my face somehow I'm sure.

They were guys around in 2004 when I wasn't feeling great. When I didn't know if I would play tennis again, they were the ones cooking me dinner and playing cards with me and getting me out of house and trying to make me smile. In 2005 when I was coming back in New Haven, so close to where I grew up, they all wanted to come watch.

Anne Worcester decided at the Pilot Pen that she wanted to give them a name for the hundred ticket requests that I was giving her every day. She came up with the J Block. That's where it started. That year I had a great run and made the finals and won that tournament. Then came here and made the quarterfinals, and had the match with Andre Agassi that was somewhat memorable. They were here for every single one.

I don't know, it seems like when I was the underdog everyone was very positive about them. Now when I'm a favorite it seems like people are sometimes down on them. A lot people forget they're doing this for charity. They're my best friends and people that care about me. If I care about someone and seeing someone doing what they love, and if they need some sort of motivational support, I'm going to do my best to give it to them. That's what they're doing for me, and I would never fault them for anything like that. They were there at tough times, and I'm so proud they enjoy my good times. When I do have tough times, they're going to be right there - I guarantee you - when I walk out of the stadium to cheer me up.

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