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You Can Quote Me On That... If You're Quick

Finals 2008

Julie RabeATPJulie Rabe has to keep up with the ATP's fastest talkers, such as James Blake.

Meet the fast talkers of the ATP Tour...

If you think James Blake is fast on the court, you should see him in action in a press conference. The American has been clocked speaking at 320 words a minute, which, if you care to break it down, is more than five words a second. It makes you wonder why press conferences drag on for 15 minutes or longer.

As a stenographer with ASAP Sports, American Julie Rabe is tasked with generating transcripts at media conferences at many ATP events. "It's definitely more exciting than the legal work I used to do. It's a lot better than listening to divorces and car accidents," she says.

But the job is not without its challenges. Julie has her 'favorite' players who make her life a little more difficult than others. Here's her Top 5 list of Fast Talkers:

1. James Blake: "James definitely tops the list. He knows it and everyone else knows it. Fortunately we're both Americans. If he had an accent it would be impossible. James was talking to some people after his press conference today [in Cincinnati] and looked at me and jokingly said, 'She hates me.' To be fair, I'm not sitting up there with a camera on me. I'm sure I would ramble as well. I can't get rhythm with James."

2. Tommy Haas: "Tommy is very fast as well but his cadence [or rhythm] is such that he is not as difficult. If someone is choppy or not finishing sentences that throws off your rhythm, sort of like players have a rhythm on the court. So Tommy is fast but I can do it."

3. Andy Roddick: "Andy will spit facts at you quickly, but it's not as constant like James and not so choppy. There is a rhythm. I love his wit and how he deals with the press. He doesn't let them get away with silly questions."

4. Sam Querrey: "Sam is choppy with no rhythm. But I like Sam a lot. He's very relaxed, easy going, approachable."

5. Roger Federer: "It's not his accent and at times he has rhythm; it's just the occasional rant: I won here, I lost here, I was in semifinals, etc. If there's not a rhythm it can be very difficult to keep up with Roger."

So how does Julie get all those words down? "A lot of people think you are typing letter by letter and they don't understand it's a phonetic alphabet basically. Different key combinations make different letters and words and phrases. We might hit five keys at once and it may make four words. That's how we're able to write when someone is speaking like James at 300+ words per minute. We have a counter on our machine and I've seen him as high as high as 320. We graduate school at 225, so he's certainly pushing the skill of everybody."

Fittingly, the motto of all ASAP Sport's stenographers, including Julie, is: When all is said, we're done.

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DEUCE, DEUCE Finals 2008

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