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James Blake Has That Olympic Fever

Monday, March 17, 2008

INDIAN WELLS - James Blake said he understands why fellow American Andy Roddick would take a pass at the Olympics to prepare for the U.S. Open, but the world's No. 9 player said he's willing to take that chance.

On Wednesday, Roddick said he would not play in the Olympics, electing to stay in the United States to prepare for the U.S. Open.

Blake said he doesn't blame Roddick for making that decision, but he sees it differently.

In 2004, Blake suffered a neck injury as well as illness and could not compete in the Athens Olympics.

"This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," said the 28-year-old Blake, a finalist at the 2006 Pacific Life Open. "In 2012, I hope I'm still relevant in the tennis world, but careers have ended much quicker than that. I know realistically, this might be my only shot to play in the Olympics.

"I've had some opportunities in the U.S. Open already and I hope I have plenty more. I want to do well there and I want to do well at the Olympics, so I'm going to take my chances at both of them and see how I'll do."

The Olympics begin on Aug. 11, and the U.S. Open will begin two weeks later on Aug. 25. It promises to be a grueling trip. Blake said one thing that will help is that he can go to his hometown in Fairfield, Conn., to help get over the jetlag.

Blake has represented the U.S., as well as Roddick, in the Davis Cup. With Roddick and Bob and Mike Bryan, Blake helped the U.S. win its first Davis Cup title since 1995, when they beat Russia in December.

Posted by Shelia

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