Tour Life Q&A:
Hi James! I want you to know that
you are my favorite tennis player and I truly look up to you. My sister Heather
and my aunt went to see
you play in Cincinnati and my sister got your autograph for me. Thank you so much. Who is your favorite opponent to play against and who is your least favorite opponent to play against? Also, who do you think has the hardest serve to return? Thank you and good luck in your future matches!!
Scott Thomas, 13
My favorite opponent to play against is probably Todd Martin. He is a player that really makes you think because he will change his game if he needs to. He also hits the ball very cleanly and can give you a great rhythm. It also helps that he is a really good friend of mine and we both know there will be no hard feelings in the locker room, no matter what happens on the court. My least favorite opponent is probably Andy Roddick, and I think this answers your last question as well because I think his serve is the hardest to return. It is very frustrating to play him because his serve is so big that it puts pressure on every one of your service games due to the fact that you know it is so difficult to break him. And even if you are up 0-40 on his serve, you know it is very possible for him to reel off 5 straight service winners and there's not much you can do about it. I have never beaten him on tour, and that's why he's my least favorite opponent.
Are you coming back to Hartford for Fox Force next year (2004)?
Barbara, I may come back to the FoxForce next year. I would like to, but I really don't know what my schedule will be for next year, or if they will want me to come back again. But I hope they do.
It's always nice to see an athlete with a busy schedule like yours to bother and answer questions from their fans. I have been a fan of yours since watching you play in Wimbledon 2002. Congratulations on making it to the 4th round of the Austrailian Open! I was wondering, have you thought about playing for USA in the 2004 Olympic games?
-Cindy, 15, California
cindy, i have thought very seriously about playing for the united states in the olympics next year. it would be an amazing honor to represent my country in the olympics. that would be a once in a lifetime experience, and i will do everything possible to make it a reality.
I am 7 and in Texas. I know I will be #1 in world. USTA put an article of me and my brother in Dec 2002 Tennislife magazine. I show you play
at the US Men Clay courts in Houtson. I want to know want it feels like to play with all those people watching?
mc.roy, playing with lots of people watching is great. it makes it more exciting for me because you know something special can happen then and hopefully those people will remember the performance. i don't get nervous because i know i've been practicing all my life to play tennis, so it's no big deal to get out there and do what i know i can do.
My name is Phuong and i'm form Australia. I watched you play at the Aussie Open 2003 twice and it was great watching you play. I also noticed that Thomas was there every match to cheer you on and your father as well (my sis actually askes if she could have a picture taken with your dad and he was kind enough to do so, if your mom was there i bet you she would've asked her as well :-). Anyway my question is how much does family support mean to you especially from Thomas who is a tennis player as well. Another thing i noticed is that at your matches you stay back really long to sign heaps of autograph which i think is so cool of you. Do you ever get tired of the endless signing or annoyed fans chasing you for auto and photographs?
I just want to wish you good luck for the rest of the year and thanks for answering the questions.
phuong, my family is very important to me. the support that they give me is unconditional and that means a lot to me. it is always more exciting to win matches when i have them in the stands. my brother especially is amazing to sit through those matches so often. i get so nervous when i watch him, but he looks relaxed all the time he's watching me, i'm not sure how he does it. as for signing autographs, i try to sign plenty because i want to give the fans their money's worth and make the experience at the tennis that much better, so they will continue to be tennis fans and watch more of my matches. i really appreciate all of the fans, they make the matches more fun for me, so i try to make it more fun for them.
James congraulations to you and Serena on your win in the Hopman Cup.
James as a fan of yours, it bothers
me when I hear announcers say your too nice and need to be a little meaner.
It seems as though America is always looking for the perfect champion. Someone
who a winner, good-looking, a little cocky or confident, and a political activist.
A perfect example of this is Muhammad Ali, and Arthur Ashe. Many athletes are
just that athletes. Many fall short of having all these attributes. I'm a fan
of tennis, and I found it really rude that many writers referred to Pete Sampras
has having a boring personality. It just not enough these days to be considered
a good athlete. I know image is very important to you. Do you hate being reffered
to as too nice or not having enough killer instinct. Thanks!!!!!, You fan Danielle...
danielle, i understand your frustration. it is annoying to hear commentators make judgments on players that they really don't know anything about. i feel that i am just being myself in being a good person off the court. when i am on the court, i am as competitive as anyone else. in fact, i am one of the most competitive people in the world i think. but i don't think being mean or getting angry will be productive to making me a better player, so i don't do it.
You probably don't remember meeting me at the Delray Beach tournament but I definitely remember seeing you and Tommy play.I'm looking forward to your matches at the Open and will do my best to rally the stands into our Blake-Blake-Blake routine.I think you and Tommy did play doubles together at a recent tournament, and am wondering if you two will continue entering as a doubles team. ( with wild cards maybe?)
Boynton Beach, Florida
(ex. Connecticut Resident)
thomas and i will continue to play doubles together when we have the opportunity. it's difficult because we both mainly want to concentrate on our singles. unfortunately right now our rankings are too far apart to play in the same tournaments together. but when we have the chance we play together. we played at newport, and we're planning on trying to play at the u.s. open.
Big fan of yours on the ATP Tour, my question: to you what is your take on the Williams sister success on the WTA Tour, because I'm a fan of theirs!! and the 2nd question: do you think tennis will be boring if the sisters keep meeting in the finals, I personal don't think so!! I look as it a challenge to the other players to step up!! what do you think.
janet, i think the williams sisters
success is great. i think they've added a whole new demographic of fan that
might not have been there 5 years ago, and that's what i hope to do on the men's
side. they give young girls some positive role models to look up to. as for
if it will become boring if they dominate, i really can't tell. it wasn't boring
when chris evert and martina navratilova dominated, but i think the sisters
have the ability to dominate to an even great level than that. i think it could
be exciting if the
matches between the two of them become more closely contested, but only time will tell.
I live in Australia and watched the match you played against Lleyton Hewitt at the Hopman Cup final and thought you played really well. I was just wondering if you like it downunder! And have you had any time to tour around, and if you have what places you've visited and what places you liked. I wish you luck in the Australian Open. I believe you can win! Thanks for answering, Jenny
jenny, i love being in australia. it's a lot of fun and the people are so friendly. i didn't have a whole lot of time for sightseeing this time, but i did see the opera house and the harbour bridge in sydney. that was a lot of fun and i enjoyed my whole time down under.
hi james...wanted 2 ask u something but i can't think..lol...1 thing i wanna no is what is the weirdest reaction u've recieved from a fan? i remember meeting andy roddick at wimbledon...and i acted like total fool. i basically 4got he was human (i kind of wish i didn't act like such a fool!)
fozia, don't worry about the way you acted when you saw andy, i'm sure he can handle it. i guess some of the weirdest reactions i've received were when one fan gave me a stuffed animal as a gift with a long letter and then proceeded to break down and cry. in the letter it was detailed that she had gotten the bread i was eating on the court from my match and then ate the rest of it. although i'm still amazed by anyone asking for me to sign a body part.
have you had any tough Hearts card game competition recently? I've heard you are quite the Hearts master... come out to the west coast some time!
rudy, i do get some free time on the road to play some hearts. it's a lot of fun, and we used to always play on road trips in college. whenever my brother's around on tour with me, we can usually find two more people to get a game going.
I was wondering if you ever play at hank loyds in costa mesa when you are in cali cause our varsity team for school plays there.
Brit ,16 newport beach california. PS Do u know Taylor Dent cause his dad lives on my street
brit, i have never played at lloyd's in costa mesa. i don't go out to the west coast very often, but when i do it's usually for a tournament and then i train at the tournament courts. i do know taylor dent and his father. taylor is one of my best friends on tour and i've played him twice in singles this year.
Hola, James, what's shakin'? I think you are an awesome player, and it seems as though that you are genuinely one of the nicest guys around. I saw in a recent Tennis magazine that you sometimes reply back to fans through this site, so I took time out from my busy schedule to ask you a question.
My question is: If you were to ever play mixed doubles, who would you like to have as your partner?
Well, that's all I wanted to know. Good luck for the rest of the year, and thank you for being the person that you are. You are truly an inspiration.
-Kayla, age 16
kayla, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to ask a question, so i'll take time out of my schedule to answer it. i will be playing mixed doubles in a few months with serena williams at the hopman cup in australia. i think at this point, this is probably my best mixed doubles partner since she is clearly the best female player in the world right now. so that should be fun. but my ideal doubles partner, and this is going to sound corny, would have to be my mother. i used to play some mother/son tournaments with her when i was young and i think that's a lot more fun than any other mixed doubles i've ever played.
Hi James,i am from Rome(the most beautiful city of theworld),and i saw you this year play very well. I ask you on which surface you can progress? and which is your problem with the match at the FIFTH set??
francesca, thanks for watching in rome. i feel that the hard courts in the united states are my best surface. these are the type of courts that i grew up playing on. as for my trouble in the fifth set, i think i've come up against some pretty tough players in the matches i've lost in the fifth set. i don't necessarily feel like i have a problem with them, i've just lost some close matches. that's bound to happen sometimes. it also may have something to do with the fact that this was my first year playing all four grand slams and i am still very inexperienced.
I just want to congratulate you on you success over the past year or so and to say that I enjoy watching you play so much!
I was just wondering, now that you yourself are a successful tennis player, who do you enjoy watching in matches? And has that changed at all over the past few years?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this :) Good Luck with the rest of the season, especially at the Open!
francesca, the players that i enjoy watching the most now are carlos moya and marat safin. i think carlos moya plays somewhat similar to me and i appreciate how much talent he has as well as being a nice guy in the locker room. as for marat, i just think he is the most talented tennis player in the world right now. he has so much natural ability it's incredible, sometimes it looks like he can do absolutely whatever he wants whenever he decides to. this has changed over the years because the players have changed. growing up, i loved watching jim courier and stefan edberg.
How do we know for sure that this
is actually James Blake answering thequestions and not the owner of the website???
Ok so if this is actually the man himself, I'd like to know: Do you feelpressure from the press when they label you and Andy Roddick as being thefuture of American Tennis?Also, if this is you, we slept in the street to get in to see you atWimbledon and thought you were great!!
heidi, this is actually james answering the questions. that's why it takes so long, i'm kind of busy playing tennis when i get a chance. anyway, i feel it's an opportunity for me to be labeled as the "future of american tennis" with andy roddick. that means that i've already done something to gain the respect of the tennis critics. i don't put any extra pressure on me because of that because i know that all i can do is do my best. if that's not good enough, then i don't feel like i need to apologize to anyone, i can only control the way i feel. i don't worry as much about what the media says. and thanks for watching me at wimbledon, i can't believe you guys sleep out on the street like that for tickets. i'm glad it was worth it. if you saw my krajicek match, at least you saw plenty of tennis.
Hello!, this is Erin from Cincinnati. I saw you play "live" at the ATP tournament in Cincinnati and was actually lucky enough to get my picture taken with you. Anyway, congratulations on your third round advancement in the US Open. Your match on Saturday against Hewitt was fun to watch, although the end results weren't what you wanted, I think you still played great. I was wondering if you have any "pre-match" things you do. Like what would you do all day if you had a match at lets say 4:00 or something. I know that you are incredibly busy and the probablity of getting a response from you is slim to none, I thought i might give it a try. So have a good rest of the year and good luck in any upcoming tournaments. I will be looking forward to watching you on t.v. and hopefully next summer at the ATP in Cincinnati!
- Erin G., 17, Cincinnati
erin, thanks for the support in cincinnati. if i had a match at 4:00, i'll go through the preparation on a day like that. first, i'd probably get up around 9:00 and eat a pretty big breakfast with eggs, pancakes, plenty of fruit and maybe some cereal. then i'd go over to the courts probably a little bit later and eat a decent lunch around 1:00. i would warm up at about 2:00 for maybe half an hour. then i'd head back to the locker room to shower, stretch and relax a little bit. i'd probably snack on some fruit, bread or a tennis bar just to make sure i have some energy for the match. then about half an hour before the match i'd get stretched out by the trainer, tape my ankles, and get all dressed for the match. then hopefully at 4, i'd go out and get a win.
I wanted to congratulate you on your victory at the Legg Mason. I was a volunteerer at that tournament, and I made sure to watch everyone of your games. I absolutely love your playing style, and moreover your down-to-earth, humble personality. I was just curious if you ever get self-conscious when people crowd around you when you are hitting before matches. I wanted to come watch you practice, but I didn't know if it makes you feel uncomfortable or nervous when you have so many eyes on you when you just want to hit with your brother before a match. Best of luck in your future tournaments. I'm positive it wont be long before you win a grand slam!
Ally 17, Washington DC
ally, thanks for all the help at the legg mason tournament. the volunteers are so important to a professional tennis tournament. as for if it bothers me, not really. i've started to get used to the fact that i'm now living my life in some part in the public spotlight. those people paid for a ticket into the venue, so if they want to watch me warm up, that's up to them. personally, i don't think it's extremely exciting, and i will never really pander to pleasing them, i have to concentrate on doing what's necessary to get ready for my match. so if you want to watch me warm up next time, be my guest. see you next year in d.c.
James... hi my name is ele (i
am 17) and i just started getting into tennis (mainly watching because i play
volleyball) and you have a special air about yourself. You are a postive example
for all those aspiring players. I wanted to encourage you to not lose any hope
and to keep your head up no matter how tough the road gets. Also you may be
the most hansome person alive but dont let it get to your head because humility
is a great gift. I am glad that you are single though... and if you ever need
anyone just holla. but on a serious note, what is important in your life besides
tennis?? are you religious?? Is your family close?? What kind of music do you
listen to? You are truly an incredible genuiwine person from what i hear.. keep
up all the good work and live life for all it is worth..
ele, that's a great name, i really
like it. anyway, thanks for the compliments. as for the questions, my family
is very close with me. i live with my older brother thomas and i followed him
to college. my parents come to watch me play whenever they get a chance and
i see them for the holidays. as for religion, i am a religious person. i feel
that religion is an extremely important median to teaching morals, and i hope
i have learned mine correctly. i listen to a very large selection of music.
everything from marvin gaye to eminem. i listen to a lot of rap, and i also like some classic rock and old r and b. i pretty much like anything but country music.
I read in an interview with Sampras
that the younger guys on the Davis Cup team play ping pong all night in your
underwear. I was wondering who dominates on the ping pong table and how good
are each one of you at ping pong? Thanks and good luck at the open. I'll be
pulling for you.
Shane, 20, Gulf Shores, Alabama
shane, first of all, that quote
is not exactly true. it was one specific incident at davis cup in oklahoma city
when we had a ping pong table in our players lounge. it got a little hot in
there and one of the young guys only had on his sweatpants over some boxers.
he just got too hot, so he was playing one game in his boxers. as for how good
i am, i think i'm pretty good. andy has beaten me a few times, but i think with
real paddles instead of the ones we were using at those tournaments, i can take
him. and i
dominate mardy fish.
James, I wondered if you were
just nervous or were you tired during your recent match against Tim Henman in
Toronto during the Master Series? Being a registered nurse and one that watches
you every chance she gets, you appeared to be sluggish during the first set.
I noticed as soon as you walked onto the court. I didn't see that fire in your eyes at all during the first set, but during the second set it returned.
I was really concerned,
Kimberly L., 33 y/o
i wasn't really tired or nervous when i played tim henman in toronto. that was just a day that i played a poor match. unfortunately it happens to every player, i just didn't feel comfortable with the way i was playing. it was also extremely hot on the court. i would guess it was well over 100 degrees on the court, and i have had problems with the heat in the past, so i may have been trying to conserve energy. thanks for the concern though.
Hey whats up James, you probably dont remember me, but i was lucky enough to be a ball boy during two of your matches at the Legg Mason tournament in D.C. this year. I got to ball boy for you when you played against Oleg Ogorodov and Guillermo Coria. I really wish that I could've ball boyed for your match against Agassi because I've never seen a player hit the ball so well and you just had agassi wrapped around your finger, correct me if i'm wrong, but that must of been your best match ever. How did it feel to take out one of tennis' biggest icons?
Also, I was in the ceremony after you beat Paradorn Srichaphan, (which was another great match) and you said that you won a couple bets against your Dad and your agent. I know that your Dad shaved his beard that he had for the longest time and you said that your agent was either going to shave his head or ski dive with you. Which one did it end up being and if it was ski diving, will it be your first time and how was it? Thanks for taking the time to read this!
-Joe Terpstra, Northern VA, 15
joe, thanks for being a ballboy for my matches, i hope i was nice to you while i was playing. that match against agassi was definitely the best i've ever played. it was an amazing feeling to control the match the way i did against someone who i've looked up to for so long. as for the bet, my agent is going to go sky diving with me sometime this winter. i've done it before and it was amazing. i think it is such a rush and a great feeling, so i definitely want to do it again.
Hey James- I am from Austin, Minnesota....yes,
where spam is made. This first time I saw you was while you were practicing
at the Indian Wells tournament a couple of years ago when I was about 18. It
was a blast watching you! I can definately tell you really enjoy yourself out
on the court. You are very entertaining to watch. Since you always have a huge
fanclub of girls following you and watching you while you practice, for example
in Indian Wells, is it ever hard to concentrate or focus? And what do you think
of the e-mails and letters you receive from fans who are just crazy about you
and tell you how they are in love with you? Besides responding to these e-mails,
do you ever take the time in your busy schedule to write back?
Thanks for reading and hopefully responding! Congrats on everything and good luck with everything!
I am very thankful that I have so many fans that want to watch me, even when I am just practicing. I don't get distracted during these practices though. I think those practices are important to be ready to deal with any kind of distraction during a match, so I do my best to prepare for the matches. I think it's pretty funny that so many people write to me and say how much they like me. Most of them don't even really know me that well, or just from my interviews. I really think that's great and also remember how that felt as a fan myself. I have a feeling that most of the girls who write in are pretty young and will come to realize that it's just a little bit of a young crush and they will be over it shortly. So it's very harmless and flattering to me.
Hi Mr Blake,
I hope you're going to read this. I think it's really nice of you to answer to all those questions, about your hair, your personal life... Not many athletes does it..
My name is Laura, I'm french, and I think you're somebody who's special. I'm a big fan of Andre Agassi, I think you like him too. What do you think about him, and how is he, when you know him ?
I watch your match against Federer last time.. Congratulations, you really impressed me. I mean, he was playing amazing tennis, but you, you fight and did a great match, I really liked your attitude.
I would like to speak with you about so many things, I think you will manage to do great things in tennis, and you deserve it. I also want to know what's the best thing who ever happened to you in your life.
Thank you for taking the time.. Continue to believe in you.
I am glad that you are a fan of mine, and that you are a fan of Andre's as well. He is an amazing player and a great person as well. Getting to know him has been a learning experience because he is someone that is a legend and an idol to many. He keeps that in perspective very well and takes the role model moniker seriously. As for the best thing that has happened to me in my life, that's pretty tough to decide. So many wonderful things have happened to me, winning my first davis cup match with my parents there to see, seeing my brother graduate from Harvard, winning my first tournament with my parents there, they were all so wonderful that it is difficult to pick just one.
I met you at the Legg Mason Tennis
Classic in DC (your first ATP title).You were a very nice person, which is good
because I wouldn't want to
provoke any anger coming from your forehand side, and I know your parents are proud of the wonderful competitor they raised. I saw the way you reacted to your close matches with Lleyton Hewitt and I was very impressedwith the class in which you handled both losses. Congrats on finally beating him in Australia. I think that his winning record over you is about to become a losing one. Now that I have let you know how I feel about you let's talk about my wifey:). Now that you have met Serena, is she as nice and funny as she seems?
mike, serena is a great person. she's a sweet, caring person. she loves to laugh and just seems to enjoy everything that's going on. then she gets on the court and is totally intense and focused.
HI JB! I am a big tennis fan and
a fan of yours. I watch your matches on television when I get a chance. From
articles, interviews, and watching you on television, I know that you are a
genuinely kind, intelligent, and charismatic person with many attributes. I
am also one of the biggest Williams Sisters fans ever. My question to you would
be if you think that there are many positive people on the ATP tour besides
yourself, and if you think that being on the ATP tour is a positive experience
for you-besides the tennis and the fans. Also, if you met Serena Jameka Williams
and Ebony Star Williams what can you tell me about them. Thank you and good
i feel that the tour is an extremely
positive experience for me. i have met plenty of great people on tour that i've
become friends with and learned a lot from. the experience for me to travel
around, meet new people and see other cultures while i'm still only 22 years
old makes me feel so lucky i have to pinch myself sometimes. as for serena and
venus, i don't know them too well since we're only together with the women for
about 5 weeks a year. i will be playing the hopman cup next year with serena
and she seems to be a really nice person.
My name is James and i am 25 and i think you are extremely talented and i think you have the potential to be top 5 in the world. But i want you to develop a bigger and more accurate serve, you will need it to get to the top. I want you to work with Tony travert or Stan Smith on this project. I wanted to ask you if you would be willing to help alex kim on his game and what you think about his game and how far you think he will go . I hope you continue the great tennis and hope you stay injury free.
thank you for believing in me.
as for my serve, it is progressing and i feel it's been improving quite a bit.
i worked with stan smith for one summer during my time in school, but i'm very
loyal to my coach brian barker. he has been one of the main reasons i have accomplished
anything in tennis, and i think he knows my game better than anyone else in
the world. as for alex kim, he's a friend of mine, and it would be a little
uncomfortable for another player to help another player in the aspect you are
but i do think he has potential to be a good player and is also a great guy.
After years of watching professional tennis, envious of the players, I always wonder how you are able to deal with the emotion day to day (from the pressure to win, the media, etc). Do you ever stop and think "how did I get so lucky?" I guess what I'm asking is, how does it feel to live out such a big dream? Is it everything you imagined it to be?
Best of luck in everything you
amy, i am always amazed that this is my real life. after i hear stories of all my friends just out of college looking for jobs and when they do find them, having to work so many hours and be at the whims of the bosses. it wasn't something that happened overnight, so i never once just said "now i've made it" or anything like that. it has been a very gradual progression for me, and i'm thankful that i continue to improve. now it's just a matter of continuing to work hard even though i'm having the time of my life out here on tour.
Hey James! I was wondering who,
on the Tour, are you best friends, close friends, and like family? I was told
Andy Roddick, he's such a sweetie! I hope to see you at Legg Mason!
~ Eileen ~
* 16 *
my best friend on tour is probably mardy fish. we get along great and we stayed together during wimbledon last year. he just moved to tampa, so we live about 10 minutes away from each other and both train at saddlebrook. i'm also really good friends with jeff morrison, rob ginepri, andy roddick, and todd martin. all the americans get along well together.
I had the pleasure of watching an awesome match at Legg Mason with you and Agassi and I don't think you would remember but I met you and your brother by the way you guys are the sweetest guys. Also your hair is awesome I love the dreads. My question to you is when you come out i notice that you play Lenny Kravitz Any resaon why you choose that song and not an Eminem song? Also are you going to be coming to the DC area anytime again before Legg Mason? Thanks
Thanks for watching the match at the Legg Mason. I actually didn't choose the music, the tournament chose it and I had no idea that they were even going to play music as they introduced us. Then after they played it for my first round and I won, I had to have them keep playing the same song because I get a little superstitious sometimes. I will be back in the DC area in December to do an exhibition with Andy Roddick to benefit Pam Shriver's charity.
I have to be honest in saying that I know next to nothing about tennis, aside from what I learned in gym class about 10 years ago! But, after watching you at the Open last week, I was not only blown away by your talent, but totally mesmerized by your presence on the court. I can only imagine the time, dedication, and life-altering changes your tennis career has demanded this far. My question to you - do you feel like a regular old twenty-something guy who is just doing a job from day to day, or do you sometimes feel like you live in a dream world where your incredible abilities have taken you to places you never imagined?? Is it difficult for you to handle fame, or is it something that you are able to embrace and enjoy?
Thanks for your time,
Dana, 25 - Manhattan
There are times that I feel like I am a normal twenty something kid. These are usually when I'm with my buddies from high school or college that still always treat me like the same kid that they knew before any of this craziness happened. But nowadays more and more, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have all of these opportunities in my life. I am definitely living my dream. I never really expected it to be a reality, which may be why I enjoy it more than many other players. The fame that comes with it is a new and interesting side of the tennis. That is something that I really never prepared for and have only done what seems right with it. I try to just act exactly the same way my parents raised me, and that is to respect everyone the same. My coach, Brian Barker, is possibly the best person in the world to have around to keep everything in perspective when it could be pretty easy to let things go to my head.
You are my favorite American player.
Can you answer one question that's bothered me for a while? Why are there so
many out Lesbians on the Circuit, but none of the (gay) men in tennis have come
out? Is it really that homophobic out there ? Just wondering.
mr. clark, i'm not sure which players on the men's tour you are talking about, but i don't know of any that are gay. i don't know if you are referring to any players specifically, but i don't feel there would be any backlash from the other players in the locker room if a male player were to come out of the closet. i don't feel that the male players on tour are so homophobic that the issue would be a problem.
Now that you are anticipated to be one of America's next big tennis stars, do you find that the enthusiasm of the crowd pumps you up, or that the added expectations and pressure tends to work against you?
heather, i think the energy of the crowd always energizes me. i really love having a crowd behind me, i think it makes the matches so much more exciting. i especially love the davis cup atmosphere where there is a very biased crowd, more like a basketball or football crowd. i've always loved that type of crowd even more.
I saw you practicing recently at Saddlebrook, what made you choose Saddlebrook as your training base? I run a lot (around Saddlebrook) and I was wondering, do think that the running you have incorporated in your training has helped you significantly? How did you get started in tennis and how old were you when you played in your first tournament? Good Luck! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
tasha, i'm glad you are at saddlebrook as well. i chose saddlebrook as my training facility because i really like it there. it's very peaceful and has everything i could want there. the atmosphere is very laid back and that's the way i train the best. the running i've incorporated into my training has definitely helped my tennis. it gives me confidence for every time i step onto the court that i'm in better shape. i was pretty young when i first played a tennis tournament. actually the first one i played, i think i was about 7 years old and i won without playing a match. there was nobody else signed up, so i just got the trophy.