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James Riley Blake (born December 28, 1979 in Yonkersmarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker) is a professional tennis player and currently the fourth-highest ranked American, 44rd in the world (as of November 16, 2009). Blake is known for his speed and powerful, flat forehand. He reached the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup but lost to World No. 1 Roger Federer in straight sets. On July 3, 2007, Blake's book, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, discussing his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at Number 22 on the New York Times Best Seller list. He wrote this book along with Andrew Friedman.

Early life

Blake was born in Yonkersmarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker to an African American father Thomas and a White British mother Betty. 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 Fairfieldmarker, Connecticutmarker, 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 Harlemmarker Junior Tennis Program. Brian Barker was his first (and longtime) coach. He left Harvard Universitymarker after his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional tennis.

Playing Style

Blake's style of play is primarily that of an offensive baseliner. That is he generally prefers to hit winners from the baseline but his solid net volley and transition game gives him an effective all-court game as well. His forehand along with Roger Federer and Fernando Gonzalez is considered to be one of the best in the game. His other 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 groundstrokes. Combined with his relatively flat strokes, these techniques allows him to put more pace on the ball and gives his opponents less time to react despite being riskier in terms of making errors. Blake likes to take control of points as soon as possible and will usually attempt to hit an outright winner earlier in the rally than many other top pros. He is known as a "shot maker" and his go-for-broke style makes him one of the most exciting and entertaining players on the tour, but also tends to make him an inconsistent player with up and down results.

Career

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 Hawaiimarker. 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 posted solid results over the summer, reaching the quarterfinals at the ATP Masters Series (AMS) event in Rome in May and then 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 and it made 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 by beating Andre Agassi in the semifinals and Paradorn Srichaphan in the final.

At the U.S.marker Openmarker, he reached the third round before falling to top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt in five sets. The match was marred by complaints that Hewitt had made a racial slur against Blake, asking chair umpire Andreas Egli to "look at the similarity" while pointing to Blake and a linesman who had made several calls against Hewitt: Blake believed the "similarity" was that both he and the linesman were black (and therefore the linesman was biased against Hewitt), while Hewitt said that he meant it in reference to foot faults.

In 2003 his best results were a quarterfinal showing at AMS Indian Wellsmarker; a Round of 16 finish at the Australian Openmarker, AMS Cincinnati and AMS Miamimarker; a semifinal appearance at San Jose; and a finals appearance at Long Island.

2004

The year of 2004 was an especially difficult year for Blake. While practicing with Robby Ginepri for the Masters event being held in Romemarker, 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, and by April his ranking was at No. 210. Blake made the decision to play the Challenger circuit, the "minor leagues" of tennis, in order to gain confidence and get more matches. In May, he entered Challenger events in Tunica, Mississippi, and Forest Hills, New York, and won both. He then rejoined the ATP circuit, and by August he was playing well enough to reach the final at the International Series event in Washington, D.C., where he fell to Roddick.

He was then given a wild card into AMS Cincinnati, where he drew Federer in the first round. The following week he entered and won the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Havenmarker, Connecticutmarker, defeating Feliciano López in the final.

His efforts that summer helped him re-enter the ATP Top 50, and after New Haven he was ranked No. 49.

Blake then accepted a wildcard into the US Openmarker, where he defeated No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the round of 32. In the round of 16, he beat Tommy Robredo in four sets to reach the quarterfinals where he succumbed to Andre Agassi in a memorable fifth-set tiebreak after winning the first two sets. He lost 3–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–6 (6).

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

2006

Blake started the year strong, winning the title at Sydney to take his fourth ATP tour title. He defeated Russian Igor Andreev in the final.

At the Australian Openmarker he was seeded twentieth, and lost in the third round to Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Despite the loss, he cracked 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 Wellsmarker, Blake defeated Robredo in the third round and world No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals to reach his first career ATP Masters Series singles final. He lost in the final to Federer, but 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 Hamburgmarker before losing to Mario Ančić in the third round.

At the French Openmarker, he took down rising Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in four sets in the second round, to become the last remaining American man at the French. However, in the next round, he was beaten by Frenchman Gaël Monfils in five sets.

To start the grass court season, he made what many considered to be a surprising run at the Stella Artois Championships, defeating Andy Roddick in the semifinals before losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the final.

At Wimbledonmarker, Blake progressed to the third round, but lost to Max Mirnyi in five sets.

Blake's first tournament after Wimbledon was at the International Series event at Indianapolis, and he went on to win the singles title by defeating Roddick (for the second time in 2006) in the final. Just by reaching the Indy final, Blake earned enough points to be ranked No. 5 in the world. He lost in the third round to Marat Safin in Washington, D.C., and in the first round in New Haven to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

Blake did not enjoy as much success during the summer's biggest tournaments, losing in the second round to the eventual finalist in both of the summer ATP Masters Series events. At AMS Canada, he fell to Richard Gasquet (who would reach the final that week before losing to Roger Federer), and at AMS Cincinnati he lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero (who lost in the final to Andy Roddick).

At the U.S.marker Openmarker, Blake reached the quarterfinals where he lost to top seed and defending champion Roger Federer. In that match, Blake managed to win his first set against Federer, winning the third set in a tiebreaker (11–9).

In his debut appearance at the Thailand Open in Bangkokmarker, 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.

Just two weeks later, Blake won his fifth title of 2006, successfully defending his 2005 title in Stockholmmarker, by defeating Jarkko Nieminen in the final.

For the first time in his career, Blake qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Blake went 2–1 in the Gold Group, defeating world No. 2 Nadal and No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko, while losing to No. 6 Tommy Robredo. Blake qualified for the semifinals, where he steamrolled defending champion David Nalbandian, 6–4, 6–1. He went on to the final against Federer, but lost the match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4. Blake finished 2006 at a career-high World Number 4, and also finished the year 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 Vegasmarker, 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, 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.

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 Havenmarker, CTmarker, and started the North American hardcourt season by reaching the finals at Los Angelesmarker, 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.marker Openmarker, 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 Bahamasmarker 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. 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.'"

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.

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.. 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 Houstonmarker, Texasmarker. 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 Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker. 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. His semifinal match was against Fernando González, the Men's Singles bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athensmarker. 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 Openmarker. 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. 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 Josemarker, 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, Tennesseemarker, Blake was defeated in the first round by Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6.

In the Davis Cup first round tie against Switzerlandmarker in Birminghammarker, Alabamamarker, 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 Mastersmarker in the first round to Romanian qualifier Victor Crivoi 7-5, 6-3.
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 clubmarker, 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. 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.

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.

Equipment

Blake worked with Prince to create a new racquet featuring Prince's O3 technology. The endeavor resulted in the Prince O3 Hybrid Tour. However, Blake did not feel comfortable with this racquet, or with the O3 technology. Blake ended his relationship with Prince. He switched to the Dunlop Aerogel 200 for Wimbledon which is characterized by its low power, 95 square inch head size, and a dense 18x20 string pattern. Blake said, "The new Aerogel racquet technology provides several frame specifications that will suit my game well and give me the confidence to know that I can take my career to new heights". His racquet is strung with Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16L String at a relatively high tension (60+ pounds). The high tension and dense string pattern are thought to help provide better control for his powerful strokes.

His clothing sponsor is Fila, with whom he started working in 2009 after using Nikemarker for most of his career. He is to release his new clothing line with Fila dedicated to his late father and is to be named Thomas Reynolds.

Personal life

Away from tennis, Blake also enjoys golf and basketball. He is a big fan of the New York Mets. Blake was featured on Bravo's second edition of Celebrity Poker Showdown, but got 2nd after losing to Maura Tierney.

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

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

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) 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 Wellsmarker Hard Roger Federer 7–5, 6–3, 6–0
Runner-up 2007 Cincinnati Hard 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.marker, USAmarker Hard Paradorn Srichaphan 1–6, 7–6(5), 6–4
2. August 22, 2005 New Haven, USA Hard Feliciano López 3–6, 7–5, 6–1
3. October 10, 2005 Stockholm, Swedenmarker Hard (i) Paradorn Srichaphan 6–1, 7–6(6)
4. January 9, 2006 Sydney, Australia Hard Igor Andreev 6–2, 3–6, 7–6(3)
5. February 27, 2006 Las Vegas, USA Hard Lleyton Hewitt 7–5, 2–6, 6–3
6. July 17, 2006 Indianapolis, USA Hard Andy Roddick 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(5)
7. September 25, 2006 Bangkok, Thailandmarker Hard (i) Ivan Ljubičić 6–3, 6–1
8. October 15, 2006 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Jarkko Nieminen 6–4, 6–2
9. January 13, 2007 Sydney, Australia Hard Carlos Moyà 6–3, 5–7, 6–1
10. August 25, 2007 New Haven, USA Hard 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, USAmarker Hard (i) Andy Roddick 6–4, 3–6, 7–5
2. July 15, 2002 Newport, USA Grass Taylor Dent 6–1, 4–6, 6–4
3. August 25, 2003 Long Island, USA Hard Paradorn Srichaphan 6–2, 6–4
4. August 8, 2005 Washington, D.C.marker, USA Hard Andy Roddick 7–5, 6–3
5. March 20, 2006 Indian Wellsmarker, USA Hard Roger Federer 7–5, 6–3, 6–0
6. June 19, 2006 London , UKmarker Grass Lleyton Hewitt 6–4, 6–4
7. November 20, 2006 Year-End Championships, Shanghai, Chinamarker Hard (i) Roger Federer 6–0, 6–3, 6–4
8. February 4, 2007 Delray Beach, USA Hard Xavier Malisse 5–7, 6–4, 6–4
9. July 22, 2007 Los Angeles, USA Hard Radek Štěpánek 7–6(7) 5–7 6–2
10. August 19, 2007 Cincinnati, USA Hard Roger Federer 6–1, 6–4
11. February 17, 2008 Delray Beach, USA Hard Kei Nishikori 3–6, 6–1, 6–4
12. April 20, 2008 Houston, USA Clay Marcel Granollers 6–4, 1–6, 7–5
13. May 10, 2009 Estorilmarker, Portugalmarker Clay Albert Montañés 5–7, 7–6(6), 6–0
14. June 14, 2009 London (Queen's Club), UK Grass 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 Todd Martin Mahesh Bhupathi

Max Mirnyi
7–5, 6–3
2. March 10, 2003 Scottsdale, United States Hard Mark Merklein Mark Philippoussis

Lleyton Hewitt
6–4, 6–7(2), 7–6(5)
3. February 16, 2004 San Jose, United States Hard (i) Mardy Fish Rick Leach

Brian MacPhie
6–2, 7–5
4. April 19, 2004 Houston, United States Clay Mardy Fish Rick Leach

Brian MacPhie
6–3, 6–4
5. April 26, 2004 Munichmarker, Germany Clay Mark Merklein Julian Knowle

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) Mardy Fish Chris Haggard

Ivo Karlović
0–6, 7–5, [10–5]
2. October 28, 2007 Basel, Switzerland Carpet Mark Knowles Bob Bryan

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 Openmarker A A LQ LQ 2R 4R 4R 2R 3R 4R QF 4R 0 / 8 20–8
French Openmarker A A A LQ 2R 2R A 2R 3R 1R 2R 1R 0 / 7 6–7
Wimbledonmarker A A LQ LQ 2R 2R A 1R 3R 3R 2R 1R 0 / 6 7–6
U.S.marker Openmarker 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 Mastersmarker A A 1R LQ 1R QF QF 3R F 3R QF 3R 0 / 9 19–9
Miami Mastersmarker A A LQ LQ 4R 3R 1R 2R QF 2R QF 3R 0 / 8 12–8
Monte Carlo Mastersmarker A A A A 1R 2R A A A A A A 0 / 2 1–2
Rome Mastersmarker 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 Mastersmarker 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 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. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8096805.stm
  2. http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/match_reports/2009-06-22/200906221245681314687.html


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




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