Nice article from the Indy tourney site
American crowd favorite James Blake will be aiming to end a run of first-round defeats in his last two matches when he plays the showcase contest Monday night at the RCA Championships.
Bill Scott, Monday, July 18
INDIANAPOLIS -- American crowd favorite James Blake will be aiming to end a run of first-round defeats in his last two matches when he plays the showcase contest Monday night at the RCA Championships.
For the 25-year-old American, who lived through a hellish year of injury, illness and personal tragedy in 2004, this summer at home will be his chance to consolidate a comeback effort which began in the spring with a pair of lower-level Challenger titles on clay.
But the heat and humidity at the Indianapolis Tennis Center could be as much of an enemy to the No. 110 as is first-round opponent Gregory Carraz of France.
After a fight to regain fitness after breaking a bone in his neck during an on-court accident in Rome in May, 2004, then contracting a case of shingles as well as coping with the death of his father, Blake has learned many lessons about life and his career.
He now has a better idea about his limitations – and he knows that heat can sometimes do him in. For that reason, he'll be pleased to have at least the partial relief of a night match.
"I'm starting to notice a pattern of if I have a really long match, when it's hot, I start to cramp.
But I think my body is doing better at adjusting. I'm preparing better with the salt, Gatorade and everything."
The American who in early 2004 shaved his trademark dreadlocks (which were later auctioned for a favorite charity) was approaching a spot in the Top 30 when his career was derailed by his collision with a net post during a Rome training session 14 months ago.
As he began the fight back in 2005 after months away from the game, the former Harvard student showed no hesitation in starting over on the lower-levels of the sport.
"It's a little different feeling when you're not playing in front of a big crowd, you're not playing for as much money, you're not playing for any TV cameras or anything like that," he said of the Challenger circuit grind. "It's just kind of back to where you started."
So far, results have been mixed, with a letdown through first-round losses at Wimbledon and on grass this month at Newport, R.I.
But dealing with life's hard knocks is not a problem for the easy-going New Yorker. "I don't set any goals ranking-wise because I don't want to say I need to get back to Top 20," said the former world No. 22.
"I think some of that is out of my control. But the thing I try to do is be better. I want to be better at the end of this year."
Blake's path through this edition in Indy could pit him in the second round against 2003 finalist Paradorn Srichaphan, whose career is also suffering as he struggles with a 43rd ranking after once standing Top 10.
All 16 seeds benefit from first-round byes, with top seed Andy Roddick seeded ahead of German Nicolas Kiefer; that pair also played the final here 12 months ago.