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Old 02-17-2006, 06:34 PM   #163
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news about James's new racquet with Prince
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Blake Working With Prince On New Racquet Design
By Tennis Week
02/17/2006

A familiar face belonging to James Blake may make it to store shelves near you this year.
The U.S. Open quarterfinalist, who began playing with Prince racquets in January after signing a seven-year endorsement deal with the company in December, is working with Prince designing a Blake-inspired racquet that could be released later this year.

"They are working with me and we're working together, and I'm extremely excited about it because it's kind of the first time I've had a real opportunity to work with the designers, with the people who kind of tailor make them for me," Blake told Tennis Week in a recent interview. "I really do hope, and in a lot of the tests, Tom Ross who I work with at Prince that does the racquets, has told me that he's made these models for me and we're getting closer to the one that's going to be on the shelves and stuff. He's kind of had a few other people trying them, and they all seem to like it. It's exciting to me to know that people are liking what I like in terms of a racquet."

The 20th-ranked Blake started the year winning the Sydney title — his third tournament title in a six-month span and his first title playing with a Prince racquet. Blake, who played most of his career with a Dunlop 300G before signing with Prince, said designers are continuing to refine the racquet that he will eventually endorse.

"Once they come to the conclusion of what's best for going on the shelves and what's best for me to be using out there, I might even have some creative design input, which would be fun, and something I never really expected, for me to be helping to design a racquet," Blake said. "I think that's going to be a great thing for Prince and definitely a great thing for me. I think they're planning on doing a — I don't know if they're going to call it a James Blake model — but I think I'll be kind of the spokesperson for that racquet, and that will be something exciting for me.

Currently, Blake is playing with an all-black experimental frame he said is not available in stores.
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