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James Blake: Rounding Into Shape
By Richard Kent
Updated: August 27, 2006
CONNECTICUT—Trivia buffs it is time to guess.Who is the no. 1 ranked tennis player in America? Pet Sampras.No he retired.Andre Agassi.Not quite.Andy Roddick.Well that is wrong also.How about James Blake from Fairfield Connecticut.Correct.
Blake is the No. 5 seed at the US Open this week and has emerged as a real threat in the tennis world.He is “proud and honored” to be the No. 1 player in America and said on Saturday that he is playing some of the best tennis of his life.
In New York he has so many family and friends in attendance that it is a real home court advantage.They even have a name for the following.It is called the J Block.Kids from Fairfield High School where he graduated,members of the Trumbull Racquet Club where he played and just friends from the area.You see Blake also lived in Yonkers New York.
Blake is excited about this year’s Open for a number of reasons.He played well last year and was involved in a match with Agassi that was one of the tops in the tournament.Speaking of Agassi,this is his last Open and Blake is a little nostalgic about that.”It’s going to be sad to see him go” said Blake stating that “He’s an unbelievable person.”
Blake was then joined by Serena Williams and was asked who would win in a match between the two of them.He said that he would.Serena agreed.
Blake has an easy first round match in Juan Monaco from Argentina but would have to play Roger Federer who is the best player in the world,the favorite and a player who Blake has never beaten to get past the quarterfinals.The Connecticut and New York native and Florida resident does not want to look past his first round match but certainly respects Federer.He called it “surprising” if Federer does not win the whole thing.
Blake was very proud that the United States Tennis Center was renamed for Billie Jean King calling her an “ambassador” for the sport.
Look for Blake to have an easy run to the quarterfinals and then to give Federer a real fight before losing very narrowly.