James Blake: Wikis

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James Blake
Blake Estoril Open 2009 3.jpg
Country United States United States
Residence Saddlebrook, Tampa, Florida, United States
Date of birth December 28, 1979 (1979-12-28) (age 30)
Place of birth Yonkers, New York
Height ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 183 lb (83 kg; 13.1 st)
Turned pro 1999
Plays Right-handed; one-handed backhand
Career prize money US$ 6,841,237
Singles
Career record 323–202
Career titles 10
Highest ranking No. 4 (November 20, 2006)
Current ranking No. 52 (March 1, 2010)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open QF (2008)
French Open 3R (2006)
Wimbledon 3R (2006, 2007)
US Open QF (2005, 2006)
Doubles
Career record 106–102
Career titles 5
Highest ranking No. 31 (March 31, 2003)
Australian Open QF (2005)
French Open 2R (2002)
Wimbledon SF (2009)
US Open 2R (2000, 2001)
Last updated on: June 15, 2009.

James Riley Blake[1] (born December 28, 1979 in Yonkers, New York, United States) is a professional tennis player and currently the fourth-highest ranked American man in the world (No. 50 as of February 22, 2010). Blake is known for his speed and powerful, flat forehand. His career highlights including reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (2008) and U.S. Open (2005, 2006). On July 3, 2007, Blake's autobiography Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, which discussed his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at Number 22 on the New York Times Best Seller list. He co-wrote this book with Andrew Friedman.

Early life

Blake was born in Yonkers, New York to an African American father Thomas and a White British mother Betty.[2] He has a brother Thomas, who is also a professional tennis player, and three older half-brothers: Jason, Christopher and Howard, and a half-sister Michelle.

Blake started playing tennis at age five alongside his brother Thomas. When he was 13 he was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and for five years as a teenager he was forced to wear a full-length back brace for 18 hours a day, though not while playing tennis. Blake attended Fairfield High School in Fairfield, Connecticut, where a schoolmate and childhood friend was future musician John Mayer. Blake was inspired to pursue tennis after hearing his role model Arthur Ashe speak to the Harlem Junior Tennis Program. Brian Barker was his first (and longtime) coach. He left Harvard University after his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional tennis.

Playing Style

Blake's style of play is primarily that of an aggressive offensive baseliner. He generally prefers to hit winners from the baseline but his solid net volley and transition game give him an effective all-court game. His forehand (along with Roger Federer and Fernando Gonzalez) is considered to be one of the best in the game. Another major strength is his great foot speed. Blake tends to return serves (especially second serves) with great pace, and also makes contact with the ball earlier (on the uprise) when hitting ground strokes. Combined with his relatively flat strokes, these techniques (despite being riskier in terms of making errors) allow him to put more pace on the ball, giving opponents less time to react. Blake likes to take control of points and will usually attempt to hit an outright winner earlier in the rally than many others. He is known as a "shot maker". His go-for-broke style makes him one of the most entertaining players on the tour, though somewhat inconsistent. Since hiring new coach and doubles specialist Kelly Jones, Blake has begun to incorporate more serve and volley play into his game.

Career

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2000–2001

At the age of 21, Blake saw his first Davis Cup action in 2001 against India and became the third person of African-American heritage to play for the Davis Cup for the United States (after Arthur Ashe and MaliVai Washington).

Ranked No. 120 in the world, Blake accepted a wild card into AMS Cincinnati. He beat a qualifier and Arnaud Clément to reach the round of 16 where he met Patrick Rafter. Blake came close to winning the first set (falling in a tiebreak), and after dropping the second set, Rafter, according to Blake's autobiography, complimented him at the net and boosted his confidence immeasurably by saying "Now do you believe you can beat someone like me, or even me?"

2002–2003

In January, Blake won the 2002 USTA Waikola Challenger in Hawaii. A month later in Memphis he posted his first win over a top-ten ranked opponent, Tommy Haas, who was then ranked fifth, and reached the finals, losing to Andy Roddick. He reached the quarterfinals at the ATP Masters Series (AMS) event in Rome in May and the finals at Newport in July.

In August, in Cincinnati, he won his first career ATP Tour title and his first ATP Masters Series title: it came in doubles with Todd Martin, making Blake the first African-American male to win a title of any kind in Cincinnati's 101-year history. He was also the first African-American to reach a final in Cincinnati since 1969 when Arthur Ashe reached the doubles finals with Charlie Pasarell. The next week in Washington, he won his first ATP Tour singles title, beating Andre Agassi in the semifinals and Paradorn Srichaphan in the final.

At the U.S. Open, he reached the third round before falling to top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt in five sets.

In 2003 his best results were a quarterfinals at AMS Indian Wells; a Round of 16 finish at the Australian Open, AMS Cincinnati and AMS Miami; a semifinal appearance at San Jose and a finals appearance at Long Island.

2004

While practicing with Robby Ginepri for the Masters event in Rome, he broke his neck when he slipped on the clay and collided with the net post. In July his father died as a result of stomach cancer. At the same time Blake developed shingles, which temporarily paralyzed half his face and blurred his sight.

2005

Blake's injuries and personal issues caused him to post relatively poor results for the first half of 2005. By April his ranking was 210. He decided to play the Challenger circuit, the "minor leagues" of tennis, in order to gain confidence and get more matches. In May he entered events in Tunica, Mississippi and Forest Hills, New York, winning both. He rejoined the ATP circuit and by August reached the final at the International Series event in Washington, D.C. where he fell to Roddick.

He was given a wild card into AMS Cincinnati, drawing Federer in the first round. He then won the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating Feliciano López in the final.

After New Haven he was ranked 49.

He then accepted a wildcard into the US Open, defeating No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the round of 32. He beat Tommy Robredo in four sets to reach the quarterfinals, succumbing to Andre Agassi in a fifth-set tiebreak, losing 3–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–6 (6).

In October at the Stockholm Open, Blake won his third ATP tour title, defeating Srichaphan in the final. Blake finished 2005 ranking 22.

2006

Blake won the title at Sydney, taking his fourth ATP tour title defeating Russian Igor Andreev in the final.

At the Australian Open he was seeded twentieth, losing in the third round to Spaniard Tommy Robredo. He broke into the Top 20 for the first time in his career.

In March he beat Hewitt in the final at Las Vegas for his fifth ATP tour title.

At the first AMS event of the year Indian Wells, Blake defeated Robredo in the third round and world No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals, reaching his first career ATP Masters Series singles final, losing in the final to Federer. By reaching the final, Blake became the first African-American man since Arthur Ashe to reach the world's top 10.

On clay, Blake defeated former world No. 1 Carlos Moyà in the first round at AMS Hamburg before losing to Mario Ančić in the third round.

At the French Open he defeated Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in four sets in the second round, to become the last remaining American man at the French, then was beaten by Frenchman Gaël Monfils in five sets.

Beginning the grass court season at the Stella Artois Championships, he defeated Andy Roddick in the semifinals, losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the final.

At Wimbledon, Blake progressed to the third round but lost to Max Mirnyi in five sets.[3]

Now ranked No. 5, Blake's next tournament was the International Series at Indianapolis. He won the singles title, defeating Roddick (for the second time in 2006).

In Washington, D.C. he lost in the third round to Marat Safin and in New Haven in the first round to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

At AMS Canada he fell to Richard Gasquet (who would reach the final that week before losing to Roger Federer). At AMS Cincinnati he lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero (who lost in the final to Andy Roddick).

At the U.S. Open he reached the quarterfinals, losing to top seed and defending champion Roger Federer. In that match Blake won his first set against Federer, winning the third set in a tiebreaker (11–9).

In his debut appearance at the Thailand Open in Bangkok, Blake won his seventh singles title, defeating Jarkko Nieminen in the quarterfinals, Marat Safin in the semifinals, and Ivan Ljubičić (for the first time) in the final.

Two weeks later Blake won his fifth title of 2006, defending his 2005 title in Stockholm, defeating Jarkko Nieminen.

For the first time, Blake qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. He went 2–1 in the Gold Group, defeating No. 2 Nadal and No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko, while losing to No. 6 Tommy Robredo. He qualified for the semifinals, beating defending champion David Nalbandian, 6–4, 6–1, losing the final to Federer 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.

Blake finished 2006 at a career-high World Number 4 and as the highest-ranked American tennis player.

2007

Blake won at the Sydney International for the second consecutive year. However, he then suffered a disappointing loss in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, losing to tenth seed and eventual finalist Fernando González 7–5, 6–4, 7–6 (4). He followed that up with a loss to Tomáš Berdych in Davis Cup play and a second round loss in the SAP Open (San Jose) to Number 103 ranked Ivo Karlović.

At the 2007 Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, as the defending champion, he was involved with a deep controversy. It was one of the several tournaments experimenting with the new round robin format,[4] and Blake had lost his first match to Evgeny Korolev. Korolev lost his other match to Juan Martín del Potro. In order for Blake to advance to the quarters, he had to defeat Del Potro in straight sets while losing five games or less. This would result in a three-way tie, with Blake losing the fewest games. With Blake leading 6–1 3–1, Del Potro retired. This eliminated Del Potro from the three-way tie as he failed to complete one of his matches. Korolev then moved on to the next round, breaking the tie because he had defeated Blake in their match.

That caused a big uproar among fans, James Blake, and commentators, as they felt James Blake deserved to advance. After a press conference of many hours, the ATP, led by Etienne de Villiers, decided that, since Blake would have met the guidelines the way the match was going, and since neither player knew the consequences of retiring (Del Potro said he would have finished the match had he known), Blake would have advanced anyway. They overruled the tournament guidelines, giving Blake a place in the quarterfinals.

The following morning, De Villiers reversed his reversal deeming that it was unfair to Korolev as you shouldn't change the rules in mid-tournament, regardless of what happened. As a result, Korolev re-advanced to the quarterfinals, sending Blake to Indian Wells without a 3rd consecutive title defense. Shortly after this incident, the ATP decided to cancel the round robin format, reverting any tournaments planning a round robin draw to the standard single-elimination draw.[5]

Roland Garros 2007 was a disappointment for Blake, losing in the first round to Ivo Karlović 4–6 6–4 7–5 7–5. Blake was one of nine American men to lose in the first round of Roland Garros. This was the first time in the open era where an American male had not made it into a Grand Slam second round.

In Wimbledon 2007, James reached the third round, matching his best showing there (2006), but was unable to get past former World Number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, losing 3–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–6.

During the summer hardcourt season, he advanced to his second career ATP Masters Series event and won a singles title. At AMS Cincinnati, he beat Alejandro Falla, Nicolas Kiefer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sam Querrey and Nikolay Davydenko en route to the final before falling to Roger Federer. He won the singles title at Penn Pilot in New Haven, CT, and started the North American hardcourt season by reaching the finals at Los Angeles, losing to Radek Štěpánek in three sets, 7–6, 5–7, 6–2 after having three set points in the first set.

In the second round of the 2007 U.S. Open, he won his first career five-set match against Fabrice Santoro, whom he defeated 6–4, 3–6, 6–2, 4–6, 6–4. Blake made it to the fourth round, where he lost to No. 10 Tommy Haas in five sets, 4–6, 6–4, 3–6, 6–0, 7–6(4), despite having match points in the fifth set.

Blake and the rest of the US Davis Cup team defeated Sweden in September to reach the finals against Russia.

James also participated in Madrid and Basel. In Madrid, he fell to former top ten star Mario Ančić in the second round. In Basel, he fell in the second round to Ivo Karlović. However, Blake teamed with former number one doubles player Mark Knowles of the Bahamas to make the final. In the first round, he and Knowles upset U.S. Open champions Simon Aspelin and Julian Knowle in three sets. In the semifinals, the team bore match points twelve times, and finally defeated Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett, the second seeds, 7–5 6–7 [12–10] with thirteen needed match points. [6] Their luck, however, was halted by top seeds and top ranked Bob and Mike Bryan, who are Blake's Davis Cup teammates. Blake and Knowles lost 6–1 6–1. After the match, James quoted: "'Yes, they played as well I have seen them play in a while. It's tough. I have seen them do it to a lot of guys in Davis Cup from the sidelines and know how little fun it is to face them. That's the reason why they are the best doubles team in the world right now. [At the start of the week] I told Mark I had not won a lot of doubles matches this year, so I was glad to have him get me through a couple of wins. I had a great time and a lot of fun. Getting a chance to play with one of the best doubles players, really ever, was exciting for me. I learnt plenty and hopefully we’ll be better next time.'" [7]

Blake lost in the third round of Paris to Richard Gasquet and thus finished outside the top eight players, losing his chance to defend the points he gained as finalist in the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup.

James Blake won his match in the 2007 Davis Cup finals against Mikhail Youzhny, 6–3, 7–6, 6–7, 7–6 (and also against Dmitry Tursunov). Andy Roddick won his match versus Tursunov and Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles rubber over Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko, sealing the Davis Cup win for the United States.[8][9]

2008

James Blake began 2008 hoping to win his third consecutive Medibank International title. However, the defending champion bowed out of the tournament in the first round, losing to French veteran Fabrice Santoro 6–7(4), 2–6. The third seed (Blake) was said to be "uncharacteristic" in reference to his frustration.

At the Australian Open, Blake defeated his first round opponent, Chilean Nicolás Massú. He then defeated compatriot Michael Russell 6–3 6–2 6–2. In the third round, he fought back from two sets down to beat French veteran Sébastien Grosjean 4-6, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6(5), 6-2, who had beaten him in each of their three previous meetings.

In the fourth round, Blake beat Marin Čilić in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals, his best showing yet down under. In the quarterfinal, James Blake faced world No. 1 Roger Federer, and fell in straight sets, 7–5, 7–6(5), 6–4. Although out of the Australian Open, Blake's ranking jumped back into the Top 10 to No. 9 following his best performance in the tournament yet.

In Davis Cup, the USA played Austria on clay. James defeated Stefan Koubek in four sets (5–7, 7–5, 6–2, 6–2). Despite being down 2–5 in the second set, James turned things around, helped in part by unforced errors by Koubek.

In Delray Beach, James made it to the final for the second consecutive year, but fell to No. 244 Kei Nishikori of Japan in three sets in the final (6-3, 1-6, 4-6). At the 2008 SAP Open, he rebounded from that loss by defeating compatriot Sam Warburg in straight sets in the first round (6-3, 6-1) and Jesse Levine in straight sets in the second round (6-3, 6-4). However, he lost to Robby Ginepri (2-6, 2-6) on the following round.

At the 2008 Pacific Life Open, Blake, the ninth seed, received a "bye" in the first round, before defeating Marc Gicquel 6–3, 6–7(5), 6–1 in the second round. In the third round, Blake beat former World Number 1 Carlos Moyà 6–3, 6–4.[10][11]. He then defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the fourth round in straight sets 6–4, 6–2, before losing to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals 5–7, 6–3, 3–6.

At the 2008 Miami Masters, Blake reached the quarter-finals, but again lost to Rafael Nadal in three sets (6-3, 3-6, 1-6).

In Davis Cup, Team USA played France. Unfortunately for France, they were missing two of their best players, Richard Gasquet and Jo Wilfried Tsonga due to injuries. So Michaël Llodra and Paul-Henri Mathieu were the players playing singles for France. After Andy Roddick defeated Llodra, James would play Mathieu. James won in a three-hour, 48-minute, five-set match against the Frenchman, 7–6, 6–7, 6–3, 3–6, 7–5. He had to save two match points to defeat the number 12 Mathieu.

Blake then started the clay court season at the River Oaks International tournament in Houston, Texas. He defeated Kei Nishikori in the first round (6–4, 6–4), 15-year-old Ryan Harrison in the second round, No. 5 seed Agustín Calleri of Argentina in the quarterfinals, and Oscar Hernandez of Spain in the semifinals (6–3, 7–6(3)). In his second ATP final of the year and his first career clay-court final, Blake fell to Spaniard Marcel Granollers Pujol, 4–6, 6–1, 5–7.

James received a wild card to play in the clay tournament in Barcelona, Spain. However, he lost in the first round to German Denis Gremelmayr in straight sets.

Looking for a better performance on clay, James played in the Master Series tournament in Rome. He received a bye in the first round. In the second round, he faced Italian hopeful Andreas Seppi. James won in three sets 7–6, 3–6, 6–1. In the third round, he faced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. He won in three sets 5–7, 7–5, 6–2. His run was ended in the quarterfinals by Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in three sets 7-6, 6-7, 1-6.

At the French, he made it to the second round before being defeated by Ernests Gulbis in four sets. He fared no better at Wimbledon, losing in the 2nd round to the resurgent semi-finalist Rainer Schüttler in five sets, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4, 4-6, 4-6.

At the Cincinnati Masters, Blake lost to Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-1, 3-6 in the third round.

In August 2008, Blake represented the United States as one of its three men's singles tennis players in the Beijing Olympics. In the quarterfinals, he gained one of the biggest wins of his career with his first ever win over Roger Federer, 6-4 7-6(2). At the time, Federer was ranked as the world's No. 1 men's player.[12] His semifinal match was against Fernando González, the Men's Singles bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Blake had triple match point in the middle of the final set, but would go on to lose 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. He then lost in the bronze medal match to Serbian Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-7(4).

In the US Open, Blake was stretched to a 5 set thriller against American teenager Donald Young 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round. Blake easily won his second round match after Steve Darcis retired, 4-6, 6-3, 1-0. Blake then lost to friend and fellow American Mardy Fish in the third round in straight sets 3-6, 3-6, 6-7(4).

In the Madrid Masters, Blake had a first round bye and played Gilles Simon losing it 6-3, 1-6, 4-6. Soon after, he played in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tournament and made it all the way to the quarterfinals before losing to Feliciano Lopez of Spain 4-6, 6-7 (7). In the Paris Masters Blake got to the semis after a walkover by Roger Federer in the quarters and lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 4-6, 3-6. Because of this loss, Blake was not able to qualify for the year end Masters in Shanghai.

2009

Blake participated in the Hopman Cup, an exhibition tournmanent partnering Meghann Shaughnessy. The team were the top seed, with Blake looking to win his third Hopman Cup. Blake lost to Slovak Dominik Hrbaty but defeated Nicolas Kiefer and Lleyton Hewitt.

Blake defeated Frank Dancevic 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Australian Open. His success continued in the second round of the Australian Open after deposing of Frenchman Sebastien de Chaunac 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in a match laden with spectator noise and bad line calls.[13] Blake went on to face the 18th seed, Igor Andreev, in the third round and beat him 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. He lost in the fourth round in straight sets to the 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3).

In the SAP Open in San Jose, Blake defeated fellow American Vincent Spadea 6-3, 6-4 in a first round match, hitting 12 aces and converted his two break point chances to race to the win in 50 minutes. Blake would go on to defeat Frenchman Florent Serra 6-4, 6-3. Blake prevailed in a 20-point first set tie-break against sixth-seeded compatriot Sam Querrey and then eased through the second set with one break of serve to post the 7-6(9), 6-3 victory in 67 minutes. He then lost to fellow American Mardy Fish 3-6, 2-6.

In his next tournament, the Regions Morgan Keenan Championships in Memphis, Tennessee, Blake was defeated in the first round by Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6.

In the Davis Cup first round tie against Switzerland in Birmingham, Alabama, he lost the opening match to Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets. But he won the fifth match in straight sets to make the final tie 4-1 to book the U.S's place in the quarterfinals.

Blake started the clay season as top seed at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships and lost to Guillermo Canas 6-4 6-4 in the first round. He also then lost in Rome Masters in the first round to Romanian qualifier Victor Crivoi 7-5, 6-3.

Blake at the 2009 French Open.

Blake then played at the 2009 Estoril Open. Blake recorded his first clay-court win of the 2009 ATP World Tour season, earning a confidence-boosting 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win over Portugal’s highest-ever ranked player Frederico Gil. Blake, who improved to 10-8 on the year, next defeated France’s Marc Gicquel in the second round 7-6(6), 6-2 and Florent Serra 6-4, 6-1 in the third. Blake advanced to his first clay-court final on European soil on Sunday, after beating second seed and former Estoril Open champion Nikolay Davydenko 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3 in a rain-interrupted semi-final that was carried over due to bad light. Blake won the first and fifth points against serve, courtesy of a Davydenko backhand error and then a forehand volley winner on approach to the net. He quickly opened up a 6-2 lead and won the second set when Davydenko hit a backhand wide. Davydenko managed to save one break point at 15-40 in the fourth game of the third set, with a couple of clever forehands that left Blake stretching outside the tramlines, but the 2003 titlist and 2006 and 2008 runner-up was unable to win the second break point as Blake secured a 3-1 lead. Davydenko almost broke back in the next game, but Blake produced his A-game hitting a cross-court forehand winner on approach to the net that left Davydenko flailing. At 1-4, the World No. 11 found himself 0-40 down but won five straight points – closing out with successive forehand winners. Blake made it 5-2 with successive aces and, minutes later, booked a spot in his 23rd ATP World Tour final (10-12 record) with a service hold to 30. Blake extended his winning streak to 7-0 over Davydenko, in the pair’s first clay-court meeting that last two hours and 26 minutes. Blake was defeated by Spain's Albert Montanes later that day in the finals. The 28-year-old Montanes saved two match points at 4-5 in the second set and fought back to beat fourth-seeded Blake 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-0 in two hours and 14 minutes. Blake fought off one break point for a 5-4 lead, before setting up two championship points on the Montanes serve at 15-40. Blake squandered the first point with a backhand return long of the baseline and the second point went begging when he committed a backhand error. Blake dropped to 12-9 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season. Blake was attempting to become the first American to win a clay-court title since Mardy Fish at Houston in April 2006 and the first American to win on European clay since his Davis Cup team mate Andy Roddick lifted the St. Poelten trophy in May 2003.

At the 2009 French Open, Blake lost in the first round to qualifier Leonardo Mayer 7-6 7-5 6-2.

At the AEGON Championships at Queen's club, Blake defeated Ivan Ljubicic 6-2 7-6, Sam Querrey 6-4 4-6 6-3 and Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 6-3, to reach the semi-finals. He then reached the final after Andy Roddick retired with an ankle injury in the first set when the score was tied at 4 games all. He then went on to lose in the final to Andy Murray 7-5 6-4.

At the Wimbledon Championships, Blake, seeded 17th, lost in the first round to Andreas Seppi in straight sets, 7-5 6-4 7-6(5). He was the first seeded player to be knocked out of the tournament.[14] In his post-match press conference, Blake stated that he was battling a stomach virus, having to take painkillers before going on court. He also heavily criticized the ATP Tour, blaming their poor scheduling for his loss of focus, as well as the withdrawal of world number 1 Rafael Nadal.[15]

Blake partnered with compatriot Mardy Fish at the Wimbledon Men's Doubles. In the first round they defeated third seeds Lukáš Dlouhý and Leander Paes and then Marc Gicquel and Arnaud Clément in straight sets. They defeated advanced to the semi-finals after defeating Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley. They lost to defending champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjić in the semi-finals although they won the first two sets.

Following a 3rd Round loss at the 2009 US Open to Spain's Tommy Robredo, Blake split with longtime coach Brian Barker. He is now coached by Kelly Jones.

2010

Blake started his 2010 campaign at the Brisbane International in Australia. He came back from a set down to defeat 5th seed Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. He then defeated Marc Gicquel 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(8) surviving three match points (down 5-6, 6-7, and 7-8 in the deciding set tiebreak) to make the quarter-finals where he lost to Gaël Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 4-6. He was also entered in the men's double draw with Andy Roddick defeating fourth seeds Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares on the way to the semi finals before losing to eventual champions Jérémy Chardy and Marc Gicquel.

At the 2010 Australian Open Blake defeated French veteran Arnaud Clément 7-5, 7-5, 6-2 in the first round. He faced 4th seed Juan Martín del Potro in the second round, losing a classic in five grueling sets 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5, 3-6, 8-10.

He then lost in the opening round at the 2010 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament against an in-form Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 2-6.

In the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Blake fell to top-seeded American counterpart Andy Roddick 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(3).

At the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, the 7th seed Blake won consecutive matches for the second time in 2010, topping fellow American Taylor Dent 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 and the Netherlands' Robin Haase 6-3, 6-1. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals by 2nd seed Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-6(5), 1-6.

Blake returned to action for the third consecutive tournament on American soil at the first Masters event of the year, 2010 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California. Unseeded, Blake advanced to the round of 64 with a quick win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 6-2. He then advanced to the Round of 32 with his most impressive win of the season to that point, a 6-1, 6-4 destruction of 13th seed David Ferrer. In the Round of 32, Blake lost a disappointing match to Spain's Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 6-3, 3-6. The loss dropped Blake's three set record to 3-4 on the year.

Blake also played in the doubles draw, teaming with Andy Roddick to reach the Round of 16 where they fell to top-seeded Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic.

Equipment

Blake worked with Prince to create a new racquet with Prince's O3 technology. However, he did not feel comfortable with this racquet. So, he switched back to the Dunlop Aerogel 200, then the 4D 200, for the 2009 season.[16] He changed to Wilson at the start of the 2010 season, using the new Six.One Tour strung with Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16L strings at high tension (60+ pounds). He did not feel comfortable with this racquet as well. Therefore, he switched back to Dunlop again. His clothing sponsor is Fila, with whom he started working in 2009 after using Nike for most his career. He has his own clothing line named Thomas Reynolds after his father.

Personal life

Blake enjoys golf and basketball and is a fan of the New York Mets. He was featured on Bravo's second edition of Celebrity Poker Showdown but got 2nd after losing to Maura Tierney.[17]

Blake appeared in People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue.[18] He once dated Jennifer Scholle[19] and US Women's Soccer Player Heather Mitts.[20]

He is good friends with singer/songwriter John Mayer, who also attended Fairfield High School.[21] When Blake was invited by Virginia's Anthem Insurance to do a cancer charity game honoring his late father, he invited John Mayer, Andy Roddick and Gavin DeGraw to perform.[22]

Major finals

Tennis Masters Cup finals

Singles: 1 (0-1)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2006 Shanghai Hard (i) Switzerland Roger Federer 6–0, 6–3, 6–4

Masters Series finals

Singles: 2 (0-2)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2006 Indian Wells Hard Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 6–3, 6–0
Runner-up 2007 Cincinnati Hard Switzerland Roger Federer 6–1, 6–4

Career finals

Singles: 24 (10-14)

Wins (10)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam Tournaments (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (1)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (9)
Titles by Surface
Hard (10)
Clay (0)
Grass (0)
Carpet (0)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
1. August 12, 2002 Washington, D.C., USA Hard Thailand Paradorn Srichaphan 1–6, 7–6(5), 6–4
2. August 22, 2005 New Haven, USA Hard Spain Feliciano López 3–6, 7–5, 6–1
3. October 10, 2005 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Thailand Paradorn Srichaphan 6–1, 7–6(6)
4. January 9, 2006 Sydney, Australia Hard Russia Igor Andreev 6–2, 3–6, 7–6(3)
5. February 27, 2006 Las Vegas, USA Hard Australia Lleyton Hewitt 7–5, 2–6, 6–3
6. July 17, 2006 Indianapolis, USA Hard United States Andy Roddick 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(5)
7. September 25, 2006 Bangkok, Thailand Hard (i) Croatia Ivan Ljubičić 6–3, 6–1
8. October 15, 2006 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Finland Jarkko Nieminen 6–4, 6–2
9. January 13, 2007 Sydney, Australia Hard Spain Carlos Moyà 6–3, 5–7, 6–1
10. August 25, 2007 New Haven, USA Hard United States Mardy Fish 7–5, 6–4
Runner-ups (14)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam Tournaments (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (1)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (2)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (1)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (9)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
1. February 25, 2002 Memphis, USA Hard (i) United States Andy Roddick 6–4, 3–6, 7–5
2. July 15, 2002 Newport, USA Grass United States Taylor Dent 6–1, 4–6, 6–4
3. August 25, 2003 Long Island, USA Hard Thailand Paradorn Srichaphan 6–2, 6–4
4. August 8, 2005 Washington, D.C., USA Hard United States Andy Roddick 7–5, 6–3
5. March 20, 2006 Indian Wells, USA Hard Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 6–3, 6–0
6. June 19, 2006 London (Queen's Club), UK Grass Australia Lleyton Hewitt 6–4, 6–4
7. November 20, 2006 Year-End Championships, Shanghai, China Hard (i) Switzerland Roger Federer 6–0, 6–3, 6–4
8. February 4, 2007 Delray Beach, USA Hard Belgium Xavier Malisse 5–7, 6–4, 6–4
9. July 22, 2007 Los Angeles, USA Hard Czech Republic Radek Štěpánek 7–6(7) 5–7 6–2
10. August 19, 2007 Cincinnati, USA Hard Switzerland Roger Federer 6–1, 6–4
11. February 17, 2008 Delray Beach, USA Hard Japan Kei Nishikori 3–6, 6–1, 6–4
12. April 20, 2008 Houston, USA Clay Spain Marcel Granollers 6–4, 1–6, 7–5
13. May 10, 2009 Estoril, Portugal Clay Spain Albert Montañés 5–7, 7–6(6), 6–0
14. June 14, 2009 London (Queen's Club), UK Grass United Kingdom Andy Murray 7–5, 6–4

Doubles: 7 (5-2)

Wins (5)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (1)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (0)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (4)
No. Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponent in the final Score
1. August 5, 2002 Cincinnati, United States Hard United States Todd Martin India Mahesh Bhupathi
Belarus Max Mirnyi
7–5, 6–3
2. March 10, 2003 Scottsdale, United States Hard The Bahamas Mark Merklein Australia Mark Philippoussis
Australia Lleyton Hewitt
6–4, 6–7(2), 7–6(5)
3. February 16, 2004 San Jose, United States Hard (i) United States Mardy Fish United States Rick Leach
United States Brian MacPhie
6–2, 7–5
4. April 19, 2004 Houston, United States Clay United States Mardy Fish United States Rick Leach
United States Brian MacPhie
6–3, 6–4
5. April 26, 2004 Munich, Germany Clay The Bahamas Mark Merklein Austria Julian Knowle
Serbia Nenad Zimonjić
6–2, 6–4
Runner-ups (2)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (1)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (1)
No. Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponent in the final Score
1. February 27, 2006 Memphis, United States Hard (i) United States Mardy Fish South Africa Chris Haggard
Croatia Ivo Karlović
0–6, 7–5, [10–5]
2. October 28, 2007 Basel, Switzerland Carpet The Bahamas Mark Knowles United States Bob Bryan
United States Mike Bryan
6–1, 6–1

Performance timeline

Singles

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through to the 2009 US Open, where he was eliminated on 5 September, 2009.

Tournament 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Career SR Career Win-Loss
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A LQ LQ 2R 4R 4R 2R 3R 4R QF 4R 0 / 8 20–8
French Open A A A LQ 2R 2R A 2R 3R 1R 2R 1R 0 / 7 6–7
Wimbledon A A LQ LQ 2R 2R A 1R 3R 3R 2R 1R 0 / 6 7–6
U.S. Open LQ 1R LQ 2R 3R 3R A QF QF 4R 3R 3R 0 / 9 20–9
Grand Slam SR 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 30 53–30
ATP World Tour Finals A A A A A A A A F A A A 0 / 1 3–2
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A A 1R LQ 1R QF QF 3R F 3R QF 3R 0 / 9 19–9
Miami Masters A A LQ LQ 4R 3R 1R 2R QF 2R QF 3R 0 / 8 12–8
Monte Carlo Masters A A A A 1R 2R A A A A A A 0 / 2 1–2
Rome Masters A A A A QF 1R 1R A 1R 2R QF 1R 0 / 6 6–7
Madrid Masters A A A A 1R 1R A A 2R 2R 2R 3R 0 / 6 2–6
Canada Masters A A A A 2R 2R A A 2R 2R QF A 0 / 5 6–4
Cincinnati Masters A A A 3R 2R 3R A 1R 2R F 3R 1R 0 / 8 12–8
Shanghai Masters Not ATP Masters Series 2R 0 / 1 1–1
Paris Masters A A A A 2R 2R A 2R 3R 3R SF 2R 0 / 7 8–7
Hamburg Masters A A A A 1R 1R A A 3R 3R 2R NMS 0 / 5 3–5
ATP Tournaments Won 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 2 0 0 N/A 10
Year End Ranking 682 220 212 73 28 37 97 23 4 13 10 44 N/A N/A
  • A = did not participate in the tournament
  • LQ = lost in the qualifying draw
  • SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

Notes

  1. ^ "James Blake stats at Tennis Warehouse". Tennis-Warehouse.com. http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/player.html?ccode=JBLAKE. Retrieved 2006-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Blake's parents prevented race from jading him". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/oconnor/2005-09-08-oconnor_x.htm. Retrieved 11/06/09. 
  3. ^ "wimbledon 2006 06 30". SportsIllustrated.cnn.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/tennis/specials/wimbledon/2006/06/30/bc.ten.wimbledon.1.ap/index.html. 
  4. ^ "Round Robin 1". http://www.atptennis.com/en/news/2007/round_robin1.asp. 
  5. ^ "Round Robin". http://www.atptennis.com/en/news/2007/roundrobin.asp. 
  6. ^ ATP (2007-10-27). "Blake/Knowles Win Basel SF on 13th Match Point". ATP. http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/doubles/news/basel6.asp. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  7. ^ ATP (2007-10-28). "Bryan Brothers Capture 10th Title of Stellar Season". ATP. http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/doubles/. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  8. ^ Association of Tennis Professionals (2007-11-30). "Roddick, Blake Place USA in Reach of Davis Cup Title". Association of Tennis Professionals. http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/2007news/dc_final1.asp. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  9. ^ International Tennis Federation (2007-12-02). "Davis Cup - World Group 2007 Final Results". International Tennis Federation. http://www.daviscup.com/results/tieresult.asp?tie=100008940. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  10. ^ Pacific Life Open (2008). "Djokovic, Canas to Face Off in Fourth Round Blockbuster". Pacific Life Open. http://www.pacificlifeopen.com/1/news/newsarticle_761.asp. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  11. ^ Pacific Life Open (2008). "Blake Bounces Moya; Nadal, Tsonga to Clash". Pacific Life Open. http://www.pacificlifeopen.com/1/news/newsarticle_754.asp. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  12. ^ "Blake eliminates Federer from Olympic Tennis". http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214542934.shtml. 
  13. ^ "Blake into third round after noisy encounter". Reuters. http://in.reuters.com/article/worldOfSport/idINIndia-37598420090122. 
  14. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8096805.stm
  15. ^ http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/match_reports/2009-06-22/200906221245681314687.html
  16. ^ "Newspage". Tennis-warehouse.com. http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/newspage.html?cref=2311. 
  17. ^ "Celebrity Poker Showdown Tournament 2". BravoTV(www.bravotv.com). http://www.bravotv.com/Celebrity_Poker_Showdown/Players/2/index.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  18. ^ "James Blake Profile". US Olympic Committee (www.usoc.org). http://www.usoc.org/26_48961.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  19. ^ "EndScore". http://sports.gearlive.com/index.php/sports/category/Tennis. 
  20. ^ "As the Brady Turns". SI Extra Mustard (SI.com). 2007. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/extramustard/08/21/hotclicks.0821/index.html. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  21. ^ Patrick, Dan (2003). "Outtakes with James Blake". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/talent/danpatrick/s/2003/0609/1565617.html. Retrieved 2006-05-02. 
  22. ^ Pratt, Jane (2005). [http://www.anthem.com/jsp/antiphona/bcbs/content.jsp?ID=PW_A076580 "Tennis Great James Blake, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Virginia Historical Society Announce an Acquisition of Arthur Ashe's Personal Items"]. Anthem.com. http://www.anthem.com/jsp/antiphona/bcbs/content.jsp?ID=PW_A076580. Retrieved 2006-05-02. 

Further reading

  • Blake, James; Friedman, Andrew L. (2007). Breaking back : How I lost everything and won back my life. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-134349-8

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

James Blake in Miami, Florida in 2007

James Blake (born December 28, 1979, in Yonkers, NY) is an American professional tennis player.

Sourced

  • He was over at my house every day between fifth grade and eighth grade.
    • On his childhood relationship with John Mayer
    • From Outtakes with James Blake, June 23, 2003 issue of ESPN Magazine [1]

External links

Wikipedia
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