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June 14, 2009

James Blake


A. MURRAY/J. Blake
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointed, although I guess it's been a good week for you.
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah. More disappointment right now than feeling the good week. The good week I will feel tomorrow hopefully once I've forgotten about this.
Andy played well. I probably said yesterday, a match like this, you know, top players, it comes down to a couple of points, who plays those big break points better. I don't think I saved one break point today. He just played those points a little better than me today.
That's frustrating, but when it just turns on a couple points here and there, I feel like I'm right there. I have another week of practice and preparation for Wimbledon. Hopefully I'll be ready and playing this well or even better there.

Q. Were you surprised you got to deuce the crowd really got up behind you? Traditionally they get behind the home players. They seemed to like you a bit more today.
JAMES BLAKE: I don't know if I'd say more. They definitely seemed to like me. That's a great feeling.
Any time I go outside the States and have some fans cheering for me, that's a really good feeling. They can sense I'm having fun out on the court and making sure that I know that I'm out there, so they're having fun in the crowd, too. I'm an athlete, I'm an entertainer, and I'm trying to make sure they have a good time just by me going out there having the best time I can have.
Usually I have the best time when I'm winning, but you still try to find a way to have fun out there, and it seems like a lot of fans appreciate that. You know, hopefully I do things the right way out there and people enjoy that.

Q. Have you had that anywhere else, any other country where fans are behind you?
JAMES BLAKE: Seems like people like me a little bit in Australia. I think maybe because that's where I was first, when I was still only about 19 years old and very, very new, that was where I first played the Hopman Cup, and it seemed like people took a liking to me as kind of the young new kid.
My hair was probably getting crazy back then, too. They seemed to like that. Since then they've seemed to have taken a liking to me. That's a really good feeling.

Q. Andy's won here today. He's No. 3 in the world. He's a contender for Wimbledon. How close is he to actually getting close to Rafa and Roger you think in the Slam?
JAMES BLAKE: I think it's similar to a lot of matches against top players. It's going to come down to a couple points here and there. Those guys have proven over time and time again that they play those points well. They play their game.
They've got the confidence to go after their shots, and you're going to have to come out and really beat them on those big points.
Andy put himself in that position in the finals of the US Open with Roger, and if he gets that chance again, I'm sure he'll be even better prepared in a final of a Slam.
You know, I really don't think you could say there's that much that separates them on a given day. If you look over the span of a career, then maybe things will separate a little more, but on a given day, anything can happen. I mean, Andy Murray is an excellent player. He's got the ability to beat anyone in the world.
I think he has beaten just about everyone in the world at some point. It's just a matter of doing it at the right time. He's definitely a possibility to win Wimbledon.

Q. Apart from the way he played the big points, was there anything that particularly struck you about the way he plays? You've obviously seen a lot of him, but you haven't actually played him in three years.
JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I thought he did a great job of -- he always does a great job of mixing things up, not playing one way all the time. Whether it's moving forward, staying back and chipping, he uses his variety very well. I think he's one of the best in the world of having that variety.
His hands are so good that he can really do almost everything with the ball, and so he plays -- he does a great job of mixing things up. He served a lot better at times today than he did a couple years ago when I played him. There were times when he gave me a couple looks at second serves, but when his first serve is coming in, it's really dangerous.
He does so much to back it up so well that when his first serve is coming in, you almost have to take rips and take chances to get into those points.

Q. What can you take from your grass court play?
JAMES BLAKE: I'm hopefully looking forward to taking a step up at Wimbledon where I've never had a lot of success. I think I played pretty good grass court tennis here. Now it's just a matter of translating it to the three out of five at Wimbledon.
It seems like there's always still more to work on, because you only get such a short window every year. You're playing for three weeks, four weeks on grass every year, and that's why I feel, like I'm sure everyone feels, like they can improve on it.
Just the biggest thing is the movement, I think, coming from clay where you're trying to slide to here where you're trying not to slide and trying to stop quickly and a little more aggressive.
It's tougher, but, you know, I'm going to work this next week on taking a step up for Wimbledon. I really don't know, because I feel like I've gotten better on clay. I feel like I've gotten better on grass.
The hardcourts I still feel is always going to be my kind of a bread and butter, but that I've always known how to play on. It's the clay and the grass that's taken work, which is why it's probably improved later in my career more so.

Q. What's your schedule for next week? What are you planning to do training for Wimbledon?
JAMES BLAKE: Mainly training over at Aorangi and getting ready, the courts over there, playing one exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club. But otherwise, just tons of practice sets, tons of practice, some drills with my coach probably the first couple days and then to a lot of practicing just playing practice matches.

Q. If we put you on the spot and said who is going to win Wimbledon, what would you say?
JAMES BLAKE: I'm not an odds maker but I'd go with Federer as the favorite. He's proven to be the best grass court player over the last six or seven years. And coming off a confidence and the high of winning the French Open, I would think he's got to be feeling pretty darn good.
I don't think anyone can belittle the accomplishment of 20 Grand Slam semis in a row. The fact that he's always there that last weekend, you know, you just feel like he's going to be there. And once he gets to that point, he's got the experience, got the confidence, no reason he wouldn't be the favorite.

Q. You talked about avoiding Andy in your half of the Wimbledon draw. Are you a player who actually looks at the draw and analyzes what you have to do to get through to the second week?
JAMES BLAKE: I look at the draw. I don't analyze what I need to do. I analyze what I need to do against each opponent.
I know anything could happen. Andy Murray could be in my section. He could come up against a huge serve of Ivo Karlovic and go out in the first round, just like I could come up against a guy who I don't know very well, similar to what I did in Roland Garros, a guy I didn't know really well. He played a great match and played what I felt was below my standards and I'm out.
I don't worry about down the road. I worry about the match in front of me. I see the draw, yes, so I know what could happen.

End of FastScripts

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