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June 13, 2009

James Blake


J. BLAKE/A. Roddick
4-4 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We're viewing it as a three-quarter British final.
JAMES BLAKE: I like it. It's pretty much true. Yeah, I mean, the crowd will be on his side being full British, but I'm half English too. Hopefully I'll have a few supporters.

Q. Never the way you want to win a match, though, is it?
JAMES BLAKE: Absolutely not, especially now against such a good friend and good guy; in my opinion, a guy that's playing well good enough to win Wimbledon. I kinda knew, when I saw that it was injured, it's probably not worth it for someone that's got the kind of credentials he does and the kind of chance to win Wimbledon. I think the only thing he would regret after this is if he had tried to keep going and possibly gone over on it worse and really endangered his chance of playing at Wimbledon.
That would be very unfortunate, so I think he weighed that in those couple of games he kept trying to play and realized he's got to make the decision for the long term.
You know, I said to him afterwards, I really hope he's okay for Wimbledon and can play his best tennis there and get back to the finals, and maybe go one step further: as long as I'm not playing against him.

Q. What did he say to you?
JAMES BLAKE: He basically said, you know, It's too bad. He's like, It will be okay hopefully, but it's just not great right now.
I know how that feels, because sometimes when you go over on it, go over on that ankle, it can be pretty bad that day. And for the next day and then three or four days later, if you've done a good job of icing it, staying off it, it feels pretty good and you're able to get right back to practicing.
But it's so frustrating to be out there and know you can't take that first step and know you're not 100%. Because I could tell after that on my service games it wasn't the same Andy Roddick.
I think people don't always talk about his serve but they don't talk about how well he moves a lot of times. He wasn't moving like he normally does out there, which is pretty tough for him and tough for any athlete to not be 100%.

Q. Have you seen much of Murray through this week? And what do you think of the way that he is dealing with the expectation which you saw another man go through?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I saw a little bit, a little bit of his match today. He was playing great today. I thought it was a very, very high level of tennis between those two. They were hitting the ball great.
He's handling the expectations as well as anyone can at 22 years old being the No. 1 Brit, by a long shot, and dealing with all the pressure that comes with that. Especially having a major here, a Slam, in his home country, it's tough.
They're expecting champions. I saw what Tim Henman went through and having to deal with the press every single time he came to Wimbledon. I think he did a great job, as well: pretty much just not reading, not hearing what people had to say about him and just going out and doing his best.
I think Andy has been unbelievable at it, not letting it get to him, not getting a big head in the locker room and not getting down on himself at any loss just because the press is saying something or another about him. He's just going through with his team -- I think a lot of credit goes to his team being around him and making sure he keeps his head on straight.
It always seems like they're having a good time. Me and my trainer and my coach are always happy to see him and his team around. They make locker room fun. They make a players lounge fun. So I think that's a good sign for a young guy to have a great team.

Q. Do you notice any change in him at all in the locker room here compared to other tournaments?
JAMES BLAKE: No, not really. Same guy. Just real friendly, has always been friendly to me. We've had a good time everywhere.
I don't see much difference here. Maybe in this locker room there's a few more people speaking English than some of the other locker rooms. But me and Andy, I think that's pretty much our only option all the way around the world.

Q. You haven't played Andy for a while, but you've obviously seen what he's been doing the last six, nine months. What do you think of it all?
JAMES BLAKE: He shot up the rankings. Plays almost as well as anyone in the world. Obviously Roger and Rafa have kind of made themselves forces in the Slams for many years.
Andy is right up there with them, and he's got the confidence to beat anyone on a given day and has proven it consistently. That's what's tough I think a lot of times for a young guy that has a lot of talent is to do it consistently.
He's doing a great job of kind of being there mentally for every single match that he shows up for. That says something very positive for the long term. He is just right now dealing with two of the greats of all time that are ahead of him.
I think -- I can't speak for him, but I think he thinks he can be right there with them. There's no reason for him not to be up there.

Q. How do you beat someone like that tomorrow?
JAMES BLAKE: You play a great match. I think -- hopefully anyone that's in a final has the ability to play great tennis, and I'd like to think I do.
If I'm playing well and putting pressure on him, you know, you take your chances, and a lot of times if you're playing well it's going to come down to a point or two here and there. You just take advantage of a break point here, a point in a tiebreaker there or something and go after your shots, play aggressive and see what happens.

Q. You told me last year every time you come to England you do a little bit of, sort of a family outing. What's the plan this year?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, my mom's not getting here until just before Wimbledon, so we'll hold off on that, but hopefully it will be -- as well as her getting here, it will be a little celebration as well.
But we'll do -- I don't know what we'll do. Whatever she wants to do. She's the one that knows her way around here a lot better.

Q. What did you do last year?
JAMES BLAKE: What did we do last year?

Q. You went to Banbury-Cross the year before.
JAMES BLAKE: We went to Banbury-Cross a few years ago. Last year we just -- we didn't do anything special. We just went into London, just a normal night, dinner.

Q. You didn't go to Oxfordshire or anything?
JAMES BLAKE: No, no, I haven't been to Oxfordshire in a couple years. Maybe this year. This year I'll be here the whole time. I'll be here all the way through, because we're playing Davis Cup in Croatia. So I will be here for a while.
I've got some time, at least three more weeks here. Maybe I'll make a trip out there. We'll see.

Q. Are there any family left in this part of the world?
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, a cousin. It's here in London.

Q. Getting a ticket for tomorrow?
JAMES BLAKE: She just had a baby, so she's -- she's a little busy with that; otherwise she'd be here.

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