Wednesday August 5th, 2009

With Jon Wertheim on vacation, rising American star Sam Querrey graciously agreed to respond to fans' questions. The 21-year-old Querrey is ranked 26th after winning the Los Angeles Open last week, his third consecutive ATP final.

James Blake takes a lot of flak for the poor sportsmanship exhibited by his fans in the J-Block. Are you worried about a similar reputation with the Samurai? What are you doing to prevent it? -- Piper Thrombley, San Francisco

I'm not really worried about the Samurai getting a reputation for having poor sportsmanship because I truly believe the guys are polite and follow proper tennis etiquette. They don't erupt for double faults or unforced errors, they remain silent during points, and they even applaud my opponents when I get outplayed. I feel they bring some excitement to the sport and can drum up enough enthusiasm to really affect the game of tennis in a positive way. It is understandable that some opponents feel intimidated or feel like the Samurai lacks class, but that is not what the guys want. They love tennis and want to promote it in a fresh and youthful manner.

Tommy Haas took offense to the guys during our semifinal match in Los Angeles. The Samurai members took the time to write a formal statement about how there are no hard feelings and how their intentions were not to deride Tommy, but to support me and the game. They are attempting to release that statement as I write this response. [Editor's note: The fan club issued its statement Tuesday.] So to sum up, I don't feel like I need to do anything to keep them in line because they are doing a fine job of managing themselves and keeping things fun, but in good taste.

Your progress has been steady, which isn't always the case with tennis players starting out. What do you need to do to get to that next level? Mostly fitness? -- Sam C., San Clemente, Calif.

I'm going to have to keep up my rigorous fitness regimen. I'm running a lot off the court and my fitness is also improving because I am advancing further in most tournaments so I am playing more matches. A key step for me to advance higher in the rankings is to keep working on my return of serve. Since I hold my serve so well, it's important to put pressure on my opponent's serve by taking more chances on the return.

Do you think that Davis Cup participation would improve if it were changed to best-of-three sets from best-of-five sets? -- Adrian, Dublin, Calif.

I think participation is pretty solid right now, but it could improve even more if you kept it three out of five sets and moved it to every other year. Guys like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal would be more inclined to participate because as a biannual event it would be more of a special occasion.

What are the top five concerts you've seen? How do you see bands on the road? I'd think you'd need plenty of rest. -- Brad Gray, Evanston, Ill.

I see bands on the road a lot. I look at the tour dates and if there is a date when I am in town that isn't before a match, then I'll go see a band I like. Because I like music so much, I occasionally will even see a band the night before a match, but I still make sure I get to bed at a reasonable hour and sleep in a little the next day. My favorites have been Incubus at White River's Lawn in Indianapolis; Linkin Park at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; the Black Eyed Peas at Staples Center in Los Angeles; Chapman and Brocker Way at Coffee Bean in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and John Mayer at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

As an enthusiastic but now concerned Federer fan, I ask you: Is Federer deluding himself when he says fatherhood won't really affect his tennis game? History has shown that for the most part, a baby suddenly changes a player's (and person's) view of life because the focus is no longer on the game, but on the child and wife. -- Grace Lin, New York, N.Y.

I don't think Federer is deluding himself. The guy has won 15 Grand Slams with plenty of other distractions in his life. He is not your average tennis player; he is such a tremendous champion that I feel like he could keep playing at a championship level throughout fatherhood.

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