Blake misses third straight Slam

NEW YORK -- James Blake pulled out of the U.S. Open on Thursday, citing illness, the third straight Grand Slam tournament he'll miss.

Blake, ranked 76th, was not specific about why he withdrew, tournament referee Brian Earley said.

The American missed the French Open and Wimbledon after hurting his neck and spine in May when he slammed into a net post while chasing a shot during practice in Rome after the Italian Open.

Blake was drawn to play Spanish teen Rafael Nadal in the first round of the U.S. Open, which starts Monday.

Nadal instead will face someone from the qualifying tournament, and the winner of that match could face defending champion Andy Roddick in the second round.

Blake lost his opening match at the hard-court tuneup in Washington last week to Adrian Garcia of Chile.