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Pacific Life Open: James Blake, March 15, 2008

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March 15, 2008


James Blake


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is that just precautionary?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, just -- I was injured and little tendinitis, so to be safe, make sure, I ice it and keep it cool at all times.

Q. Just kind of talk a little bit about the second set. Looked like you were in control, and then things got away from you a little bit it seemed?
JAMES BLAKE: Maybe it had something with I haven't played a match in a couple weeks. I usually feel good the way I finish, close out matches, keep going for my shots. On a day like today it's tricky to go after your shots really with this kind of wind, and being a little colder you don't really feel like you can hit out as much.
He played smart. He played great defense in those times and made me win it. We haven't played a lot of matches, maybe those are the points you don't win. Then the third set I was proud I didn't let that get to me. I didn't let him start gaining confidence like I figured he probably would after winning the second set and being alive after being down match point.
I felt really good about the way I played in played in the third set, and that's what I'm going to try and build on for the next round.

Q. I just wanted to let everybody talk about the match, but I want to ask you about your book and the process. How did you write it? How long it took you? Did you dictate it? Tell us a little bit about writing it.
JAMES BLAKE: Well, it took about a year, and it was something I was thinking about in 2004 when I was sick. Then when I started having more success in 2005 and telling my story a little bit more and more, people started realizing that it was an interesting story. Maybe people would want to hear more about it than just the five- and ten-minute interviews I was doing about what happened to me.
So it gave me the idea to write it, so we started then. It took just about a year to finish. I worked with Andrew Friedman who had never worked on a sports book before, and that was something that made me feel good about it. I didn't want to make it a sports book. I wanted to make it a book about me and my family getting through hard times, not necessarily just about tennis and a bunch of scores you could find on or anything like that.
That was really the way it came out. A lot of dictation, a lot of e-mails, a lot of writing. Just we really did collaborate and, you know, it was all -- it really is all my words. People that know me very well, when they read it they say it sounds just like me sitting there talking about it.
That's what I'm proud of. That's why I'm happy I did all the work to revise it to make sure it was true to form to the way I would tell the story.

Q. How were the sales on that book?
JAMES BLAKE: The sales were better than I think they expected, which is great, but maybe it means they weren't expecting much out of me.
It sold over 25,000 copies already, and it's, I think, coming out in paperback very soon. We're excited about that. It got a release date for that.
And it's also -- it made it up to 15 on The New York Times best seller list. For writing a book, kid writing a book at 27 years old, it's something I definitely didn't have any expectations of, and I'm proud that that many people actually care about what goes on in my life.

Q. Are you going to put another chapter in the paperback, the Davis Cup?
JAMES BLAKE: I would love to. I don't know if they can do that or if it's already in publication, so that would be definitely an interesting part of the story, and a great -- maybe a great ending, ending chapter. That kind of a triumph and that kind of a career defining moment.
So if I could, I'd love to add another chapter in there, but I don't know. I don't know if they'll let me do it. That's a good idea, though.

Q. Do you think you'd write a second book with the success of this one?
JAMES BLAKE: I think there would have to be a really good reason. I enjoyed the process. It was therapeutic for me to talk about such tough times and dealing with them and stuff, but I don't know if -- you know, that many 27 and 28 years old have enough compelling stories to tell that, to make it worth writing another book.
I was fortunate and unfortunate enough to have so much happen to me at such a young age that it made it relevant to write that first one. If I just go on winning tennis matches, losing tennis matches, and doing kind of the -- I know it's an abnormal life, but it's still not, in my opinion, one that I need to put down on paper that everyone would be compelled to read.
If there's ever an instance where I feel like I need to get a story out there and people should hear about it and it can help inspire others or can help teach them a lesson, then I would love to.
But as of right now, it's not -- it's not looking like I will any time soon, but maybe many years down the road.

Q. It's about Obama.
JAMES BLAKE: What about him?

Q. Do you endorse him?

Q. It's for European press. Obama is candidate out there, and I would like to know what's your predicament? Do you endorse Obama?
JAMES BLAKE: I have in the past and I still do. I think he's, in my opinion, the best man for the job. Obviously I have, you know, limited knowledge. I'm not available to study it every second of every day because I have to be out here playing.
But from what I have learned -- I've read both of his books -- I'm really proud of him as a person, as a father, as a husband and everything that he's done.
So I -- that shouldn't have anything to do with the fact that he's the best candidate, as well. I appreciate his views and his -- as much as they use it to knock him, his lack of experience, I think, could come in handy. Because I think there have been a bunch of studies that when someone is still eager and hungry for a position or in sports or in chess or in anything, they tend to be even more effective than those who are so experienced that they start to take it for granted.
I think as much as he talks about change, I think it's going to be a valuable commodity this time, these next four years.


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