James Blake on John Mayer: No High School Lothario

In N.Y.C. to kick off the U.S. Open, the tennis stud dishes about growing up with the Grammy winner

Photo: Joe Schildhorn/PatrickMcMullan/Sipa

Before he had game, John Mayer was a big gamer.

For three years in elementary and junior high school in Fairfield, Conn., the Grammy winner spent almost every afternoon playing Nintendo with his childhood pal, tennis star and Olympian James Blake.

“Just about every day he was at my house, and we’d play Nintendo games, like Joe Montana football, all the time,” says Blake, who was in fifth grade when the two became best buds.

“John was pretty good, but I played a bit more than he did,” Blake told PEOPLE at Heineken’s Share the Good event in New York City on Friday, where he accepted a $10,000 check for the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Cancer Research Fund, his charity honoring his late father.

Mayer and Blake, one of PEOPLE’s Hottest Bachelors, hung out Thursday night at the Manhattan benefit for the charity.

So, were girls swarming around them back at Fairfield High School?

“Absolutely not!” says Blake, with a laugh. “I don’t know what he likes to tell about his high school experience, but mine was very different from the way life is now.

“I was about five feet tall wearing a back brace [due to scoliosis],” continues Blake, who’s in town for the U.S. Open. “I definitely didn’t have girls flocking around me.”

During a podcast in July, Blake also told ESPN’s Bill Simmons, “To be honest, I don’t think either one of us was doing that great [with the ladies] in high school – John was still kind of fitting into a niche … He’s more than made up for himself with how he’s done since then.”

These days, Mayer, 30, and Blake, 28, are both single, after the singer’s recent split from Jennifer Aniston.

So, will they be each other’s wingman? Don’t bet on it, says the tennis star.

“I don’t think John needs one, he does just fine on his own,” says Blake. “He doesn’t even need to be my wingman – he can just stand there, and people are impressed that I know him!”

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