DP jumps the net with James Blake
Dan Patrick's interview with tennis star James Blake appears in the June 23 edition of ESPN The Magazine
DP: What do you think about Annika Sorenstam? Would the ATP guys be nervous about Serena playing on the men's tour?
|James Blake says that going to Harvard helped keep him humble.|
JB: I think it would create a whole lot of hype, which would help both tours. But I think the gap between men's and women's tennis is much wider than the gap in golf. If you asked Serena, she'd say the same.
DP: You wore a back brace in high school and described yourself as a geek.
JB: My mom didn't have to do any favors to get me into a normal school. My back brace just reinforced whatever normal teenage insecurities I had.
DP: You went to school with John Mayer, right?
JB: He was over at my house every day between fifth grade and eighth grade.
DP: And you know Natalie Portman, too?
JB: I missed her by a year at Harvard. I hung out with her on her recruiting trip, though.
DP: Then she goes on to be in Star Wars.
JB: I'll take credit for that.
DP: Is there a stigma attached to saying you went to Harvard?
JB: People probably think I'm a big dork or conceited or something. It's actually the best place to keep you humble. There are kids who've written novels at 12 and discovered cures for diseases. In that frame of reference, hitting a tennis ball isn't really that great.
DP: Did the players razz you about being in People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue?
JB: Very much so. Especially Mardy Fish.
DP: Do you carry a copy around with you?
JB: Yeah, right. Just casual reading that I brought with me to the bar.
DP: "Oh my gosh. Look what just fell out."
JB: "That's so embarrassing. I can't believe they have that in there."
DP: Most embarrassing thing you've ever done.
JB: Besides throwing up in front of, like, 10,000 people when I played Lleyton Hewitt a couple of years ago?
DP: Didn't Sampras do that one time during a match?
JB: Yes, but he won.
DP: Your guilty pleasure.
JB: I did really like "Ally McBeal."
DP: Oh, James. You didn't have a crush on Calista Flockhart, did you?
JB: Not quite my look.
DP: Do the British want to claim you because your mom is from there?
JB: They did once I started playing well. But maybe that's because they only have a couple of guys that do well.
DP: Take the love where you can, buddy.