Tennis ace Blake remains neutral on Olympic boycott

April 2nd, 2008 - 5:37 pm ICT by admin  

Miami, April 2 (DPA) With the skill of a polished diplomat, US tennis ace James Blake, who has supported US Presidential candidate Barack Obama, has sidestepped the issue of a possible Olympic boycott over China’s Tibet crackdown after posting a win at the Miami Masters tournament. “I leave that to the people that know a lot more about it,” Blake said of the international political sparring over China’s looming crisis.

“Obviously these people are much more up on the issues of Tibet and human rights of China and what they’ve done and a lot more confidential material that I’m sure I’ll have never have access to,” one-time Harvard student Blake said after beating Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4 here Tuesday.

“I trust those in power to let me know.”

Blake has a higher off-court profile than some of his colleagues and has certainly let his non-tennis interests surface.

In the midst of the American election campaign, he has come out for Obama and is also not shy about voicing other political opinions.

As for missing the Olympics in protest, that’s something he won’t be deciding.

“I’ve worked hard, I would love to be there. I’m proud to be a part of the US Olympic team,” he said of the controversial games starting Aug 8.

“If they tell me it’s the right thing to do to go over there, I’ll go over there. If they tell me it’s the right thing to do to stay home, then I’ll stay home. I would be disappointed, because I want to compete in the Olympics and I want to be there.”

Blake said the Tibet issue is certainly bigger than sport.

“I don’t feel like it’s my decision to go and say, ‘I know what’s best for the entire country of China, I know what’s best for the entire Olympic team’. I think it should be a joint decision, kind of all-for-one decision, whether every Olympic team boycotts or we all go and we represent our country with pride,” he said.

Blake said of any athlete who chooses to boycott: “It’s totally up to them. If they feel the need to express themselves that way, then more power to them. I’m proud of them for taking a stance, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be the way I do it.”

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