Connecticut native James Blake commits to Pilot Pen field

May 17, 2005 11:03 AM

Young American Returns To His Roots For US Open Tuneup

James Blake becomes the first man to commit to Pilot Pen in 2005© WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images
Just one week ago Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event, announced that the world-class women's tennis event would add a men's event, as well, and the first entry into the men's draw will be Connecticut native James Blake, it was announced today by Anne Worcester, tournament director.

Blake becomes the first ATP Tour player to commit to Pilot Pen Tennis, set for August 19-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. On the women's side, five of the top 15 players in the world; Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo, Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova and Elena Bovina, have all committed to the tournament already.

"We are thrilled James has decided to come home and play in Connecticut," said Worcester. "He always was exciting to watch, and now the fans will have a chance to see how his game has developed and what an exceptional player he has become."

The former Fairfield High graduate has battled back from an injury ridden 2004, which included a fall while practicing in Rome that fractured vertebrae in his neck and Zoster, a condition affecting hearing and visionary senses and causing temporary paralysis on one side of his face.

Ranked at one-time as high as No. 22 in the world, Blake has worked to establish himself as one of the preeminent Americans on the ATP Tour. The 25- year-old has registered quarterfinal results this year at Scottsdale, Ariz., and Houston, Texas. In addition, he won challenger events at Tunica Resorts, Miss., earlier this year and this past weekend at Forest Hills, N.Y.

"I am very excited to be playing in New Haven," said Blake. "I remember when I played here in 1998 as a qualifier, and I am excited to be part of this new era of tennis in Connecticut. I think that the combination of the men's and women's events will make for an exciting week."

Blake has already built a solid career with an ATP title at Washington, D.C.; three finals appearances at Long Island, Memphis, Tennessee, and Newport, R.I.; and five doubles titles.

Learn more about Pilot Pen Tennis...

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA:

The 2005 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (, a US Open Series event, will be held August 19-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The Pilot Pen is the first combined men's and women's summer tournament leading into the US Open. In 2004 an all-star field featured some of the biggest names in women's tennis such as Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navratilova. A total of 18 hours of the 2005 Pilot Pen will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2005 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at (203) 776- 7331 or (888) 99-PILOT.


About the US Open Series:

The US Open Series is the cohesive, six-week summer tennis season of 10 major North American tournaments linked to the US Open. The US Open Series launched in 2004, and resulted in record attendance, TV viewership and live broadcast hours for the sport. Television viewership was up over 50%, with regularly scheduled broadcasts on ESPN, CBS, NBC Sports, and The Tennis Channel. In total, the US Open Series events - - including the US Open - - generated a record 1.5 million attendees, 126 million TV viewers and over 15 million website visits, making it the strongest summertime property in sports. Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt won the inaugural US Open Series.