Blake and Roddick Trade Jokes and Jabs in Legends Lead-Up


By Nicholas McCarvel | Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

Shoulder to shoulder, James Blake and Andy Roddick are more friends than foes after their storied tennis careers, a large reason why Roddick said yes when Connecticut native Blake asked Andy to join him for the Men’s Legends Event at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies Thursday night.

MORE: Men’s Legends Event Info | Updated Schedule | Women’s Draws

“I was happy to come here,” said a grinning Roddick at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “It gives us an excuse to kind of hang out and spend a couple days together also. There are positives and negatives to that, of course [smiling]. But I’m happy to be here for the first time.”

Roddick never played at the men’s event held here, though Blake is a two-time champion. Wednesday night the Fairfield native beat Jim Courier 7-5, 6-3 in the first of the two-match exhibition that is a part of the WTA Tour stop at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale this week.

Blake and Roddick traded jabs and jokes in front of the press, but mostly fondly recalled their own careers, in which they amassed 42 total titles and teamed up to win the Davis Cup title for the U.S. in 2007.

PHOTOS: Wednesday Night Legends, Blake vs. Courier

“We played and wanted to beat each other’s brains in on the court, but were perfectly content to go out to dinner that night, too, no matter who won,” Blake said. “Unfortunately, that was often him. That meant he picked up the check, which was okay with me.”

The two will meet in a friendly exchange Thursday night after the Sam Stosur-Kirsten Flipkens quarterfinal on Stadium Court.

“If I was out of a tournament, the first thing I did was check to see if Andy was in it, check to see how he was doing the next day, hopefully him or Mardy Fish or Robby Ginepri was going to win the tournament,” Blake remembered.

Both former top 10 players (Roddick a former No. 1 who also captured the US Open in 2003) had plenty to say in Thursday’s press conference. Read more of their select quotes from Blake and Roddick after the jump–>

Roddick on his relationship with tennis following retirement: “I didn’t play much the first year I was retired. I didn’t hit balls much. You know, I did some things here and there, but I didn’t play much tennis. This year I’ve actually enjoyed it a lot more. I hit a couple times a week, played a lot of TeamTennis. I found that kind of middle ground where I don’t feel like I have to be perfect when I go out there, but I can go out and just enjoy it for what it is. It’s been a lot of fun. I love tennis.”

Roddick on playing doubles with Mardy Fish at the US Open, which was ruled out because Roddick had not re-entered the drug-testing program soon enough: “It was my idea first. Mardy actually talked about it this week for one of the first times in depth, which I was happy to see him do. With me retiring, then James retiring the next year, we both had our good-bye. I got to enjoy that week when I stopped. It was one of the best weeks of my career. James got to say good bye to the guys in the locker room. Mardy didn’t have that. There’s still some space where he hasn’t fully retired yet. But I thought it would have been a great thing for him to be able to enjoy it in a pressure free environment, something we don’t do all the time, which is playing doubles. Unfortunately I would have had to have entered the drug testing program months and months and months ago, which I understand. I wasn’t thrilled about it at all. You know, you have guys winning junior tournaments, getting wild cards. They’re obviously not involved in the program at all. It’s unfortunate. But I wanted that for Mardy. He had his son earlier this year. For them to come and enjoy it without the stress of it all, without everything, just really kind of have that moment. If it was a good bye, [it would be a way] to have a nice good bye. If it’s not, maybe it’s a springboard into competitive tennis again. Either way, I thought it would have been great for him.

Blake on his best on-tour memory: That was actually the only reason I liked him, because he got me in Davis Cup [smiling]. No, we definitely felt like we needed to do it together. We were lucky enough to have the Bryans with us to lock down that doubles point. We feel like it helped a ton to have someone you could count on at that top singles spot. Hopefully I was a pretty good number two guy and able to come through when we needed it. That’s the moment for me every time I’m asked what my favorite memory of the tour is, is winning the Davis Cup in Portland. It was really emotional, a ton of fun. To do it together as a team with guys you really care about, and the fact that also in the finals, for me it was awesome because it was the team, and all of us won. Andy won, I won, the Bryans won. We all felt we were a part of winning that Davis Cup, which I think is very fitting because we felt like we shared it.

Roddick on Davis Cup: I needed [James] in my career. I needed him to be that other singles player. That probably brought us closer, it was necessity. We knew we had to work inside of a team environment. That was a huge, huge deal for us.

Blake on where he keeps his trophies: I don’t have as many as him. Mine are not very prominent anywhere in my house. I don’t notice them at all. In fact, I joked about the fact that I did win a trophy at a golf tournament this year, and that went right on my counter in my kitchen. My wife made fun of me endlessly.

Roddick on his trophies: My wife got mad at me because we moved in the last year and I didn’t move a lot of the trophies I had, probably four or five that I like. Again, they’re not really on display. I just know where they are.

Roddick on if he’d like to write a book at some point: No. There’s two things. I don’t have the inspirational story that James has. There’s not that. There’s two types of books that have been written. There’s one where you talk about occurrences that were meant to be private in a given moment. The insides of locker rooms is something I’m never going to mention. I’m not going to name names and stuff. If it was said in confidence, I think it should remain that way. Or there’s the book where you tell everybody how awesome you are for 1200 pages. Unfortunately, mine would be a lot shorter. I don’t think so. If there’s a way to do it in a humorous way, sharing stories maybe like that. It’s something I’ve thought about, but I don’t know that I’m going to force one just because it’s what people think you should do.

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