4 Found Dead in Fire at House Owned by Ex-Tennis Player James Blake

TAMPA-- Four bodies have now been found inside the large, million-dollar Tampa home that went up in flames Wednesday morning.

10 News' search of property records confirm former tennis player James Blake owns the 5,856 square-foot mansion at 16223 Sierra de Avila, inside the exclusive Avila Golf and Country Club.

We were able to reach a contact with the James Blake Foundation, who says Blake was not inside the house when the fire broke out. He had been renting the home to someone else.

Blake is a former professional tennis player, who at one point was the #1-ranked American in the world. Blake retired last year.

Police have not determined whether the people found dead were killed by the fire or some other cause, and their identities have not been released by investigators.

The sheriff's office says the biggest fear is losing evidence to the fire. Investigators are expected to be out at the scene for days trying to collect evidence. Detectives may not be able to enter the remains of the home until Thursday, due to structural damage.

Blake, who attended Harvard before turning pro in 1999, was a consistent top-10 player from 2006-08, reaching a high of No. 4 in '06, and he won 10 singles titles and seven in doubles on the ATP World Tour.

He reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals, including two in New York, losing at that stage to Andre Agassi in 2005 and to Roger Federer in 2006.

Blake was the second-best American player during his peak years, behind only Andy Roddick, and he teamed with Roddick and the Bryan brothers to capture Davis Cup for the USA in 2007.

James Blake played for several years in the Winston-Salem Open, including 2013. The tournament is in August.


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