Tuning up in Tunica/French prep in Forest Hills [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Tuning up in Tunica/French prep in Forest Hills

04-25-2005, 06:07 PM
Pretty lame title for a thread :lol: but it gives us a place to follow James during his two Challengers in May, as he gets ready to storm the Bastille (in qualifying...) :D Ulitmate destination: Top 50!

04-25-2005, 06:09 PM
:woohoo: You can do it, James!

04-25-2005, 07:06 PM
Go James!!! :bounce:

Hope he'll get a very good preparation in these challengers as he needs to make it to the main draw in Paris for me (and for himself of course ;) ) I haven't seen him in person since Nov. 2003 and so hope that I'll get to see him Paris.

04-25-2005, 08:05 PM
GO JAMES!!!!!! you can do it baby!! :smooch:

04-25-2005, 09:59 PM
Go James!!! :bigclap:

04-26-2005, 12:33 AM
JAMES!!! :yippee:

04-27-2005, 06:06 AM
James is back in the Top 200 at 189. <insert sigh of relief here>

04-27-2005, 02:32 PM
James is back in the Top 200 at 189. <insert sigh of relief here>
my feelings exactly. up next... top 100!!! well ok we'll start with top 150 first. :kiss: Good luck james!!! :hug:

05-05-2005, 01:42 AM
5/4/05 Tunica Draw

James took out Matias Boeker yesterday evening 6-1, 7-6. In the process he earned some valuable entry points. He faces Jerome Golmard this evening at 7pm EST. Here's what James had to say about the match:
"played pretty well on my serve. he served really well in the second set and i had a few break points, but he played them all well. so i won the breaker 7-4."

05-05-2005, 02:23 AM
He won tonight in 3 sets - 7-6 4-6 6-4, he plays Goldstein in the QF tomorrow

05-05-2005, 02:23 AM
yay james!! :yippee:

05-05-2005, 02:27 AM
:bounce: Woo! Good luck, James!

05-05-2005, 04:08 AM
Go James!!! :bigclap:

05-05-2005, 08:09 AM
He won tonight in 3 sets - 7-6 4-6 6-4, he plays Goldstein in the QF tomorrow

Against Golmard..

This is one sattie I'd like to attend.

05-05-2005, 03:48 PM
What's a 'sattie'?

05-06-2005, 01:49 AM
James into the SF against Vahaly :D:D This is gonna move him up some spots in the rankings, for sure :)

05-06-2005, 02:23 AM
I think he's earned about 35 points now (I'm just guessing), so he should def move up.

05-06-2005, 02:27 AM
Only 22 points for the semis of a $50,000 challenger. But even that will move him up 15 places. It'll be 35 points and close to 20-25 spaces if he makes the final. :)

05-06-2005, 02:33 AM
Thanks. Too lazy to look it up myself at this point. Debating whether or not to add the word 'jerk' to my avatar somewhere.

05-06-2005, 02:40 AM
good job james keep up the good work, the ranking will come :hug:

05-06-2005, 03:16 AM
Debating whether or not to add the word 'jerk' to my avatar somewhere.I would ;)

05-06-2005, 07:45 AM
Well done, James :yeah:

and good luck in the semis :bounce:

05-06-2005, 01:03 PM
Well done James :bigclap:

05-07-2005, 01:00 AM
James is in the final tomorrow against Brian Baker! He defeated Vahaly 7-5 7-5

Win the title, James!!!!!!!

05-07-2005, 01:34 AM
Well done James!!! :worship:

Now take the title! :yeah:

05-07-2005, 01:45 AM
aww yay james i'm so proud of you, now take the title please, you can do it!!!! :hug: :yippee: :hearts:

05-07-2005, 03:12 AM
Jimmy Jam! :yippee: Goodest luck, go fo it! :bounce:

05-07-2005, 05:42 AM
Wow that's fantastic :yippee:

Go James win the title......you can do it!!! :bigclap:

05-07-2005, 02:35 PM
What's a 'sattie'?

That's what I personally call all lower level, non ATP events, even though they are all called different things based on the hierarchy. I consider them all satellites, i.e., my term 'sattie'.

05-07-2005, 05:58 PM
Oh. Glad you specified that it was a personal use of words. Can't imagine walking up to James at this point and congratulating him on his success in this 'sattie'. Just imagine the look he would give me.

05-08-2005, 02:29 AM
James won the title, beating Brian Baker 6-2 6-3!!!!! :woohoo: :aparty: :yippee: :dance:

05-08-2005, 02:34 AM
James won the title, beating Brian Baker 6-2 6-3!!!!! :woohoo: :aparty: :yippee: :dance:

Great..he moved into the 160s..

05-08-2005, 02:37 AM
This is really great for James.... wtf is your problem?

05-08-2005, 02:40 AM
James! :banana:

05-08-2005, 03:26 AM
This is really great for James.... wtf is your problem?

What's yours? I said, 'Great' as in I'm excited for him. Geez, lighten up. I'm sorry I didn't use 1 million happy emoticons. And if you look earlier in the comments, either you or Fee did say that he'd go up 15 points, so I'm just repeating what was said.

05-08-2005, 03:33 AM
YAY JAMES!!!! :yippee: :woohoo: :bigclap: :rocker2:

05-08-2005, 04:50 AM
Yay for James!!!! And he has a day of rest on Sunday before he gets ready to roll in Forest Hills. Now, I want him to do well in Forest Hills, but if he has to save some energy for the RG quallies the following week, that's okay too. That's all I'm saying.

What's his final points tally Deb? I'm too lazy to look... (slow dial up and all).

05-08-2005, 04:59 AM
Well, he should pick up 50 entry points (do Challenger points count in the 5th best? if so he may not get all 50, I don't know)... which, if he gets those 50 and the points are app. the same for all the other players (which is hard to figure out of course), he'd move from 187 to about 157ish... give or take a few spots.

05-08-2005, 05:17 AM
Pretty sure all 50 of them will count. Thanks for looking that up. This is so great, every thing that James does from now on will add to his point totals, yippee!

05-08-2005, 05:19 AM
Pretty sure all 50 of them will count. Thanks for looking that up. This is so great, every thing that James does from now on will add to his point totals, yippee!Sure :) and YES YAY!! He really can only go up, and with the quality of tennis that it sounds like he is playing, he has a good chance to end the year very solidly. I would hope he would get WCs into Montreal and Cincy should he need them, by the USO he should definitely be able to get in directly, etc. He's not far out of the top 50 in the race, if he can keep this up and find a little bit more consistency and win some of the closer matches he's been losing, he could end the year in the top 50. I really think he can do it!

05-08-2005, 05:29 AM
(do Challenger points count in the 5th best? if so he may not get all 50, I don't know)If a player's ranking isn't high enough for direct entry to the 13 required events (& he doesn't otherwise enter the event as a qualifier or wild card), he can carry more five optional events (both ATP & challengers) as part of the total 18 in the entry system.

After both 2004 Rome & Hamburg fall off (May 16th), Blake will be carrying only 8 required events, so he can count up to 10 optional events as of that date.

However, there are no points for challengers in the race.

05-08-2005, 05:40 AM
Why is the points system so complicated? Isn't there an easy way to do it? I think NASCAR auto racing starts everyone off at zero at the start of the year.

05-08-2005, 05:42 AM
Why is the points system so complicated? Isn't there an easy way to do it?It isn't that complicated for the ATP as it's maintained by computer in the PVB offices. It only takes a matter of minutes to update the rankings every Sunday evening (after all the weekly matches are completed).

I think NASCAR auto racing starts everyone off at zero at the start of the year.So does the ATP champions race.

05-08-2005, 08:06 AM
Wow that's great :yippee: I'm so happy for James :D

Good luck for next week and for the qualy in Paris, James - you can do it!!!

05-08-2005, 12:33 PM
Congrats James :worship: :hug:

05-08-2005, 02:43 PM
nice article :)
Blake finishes off Baker at Tunica
Losing only one set in week's play may turn out to be confidence builder

By Phil Stukenborg
May 8, 2005

TUNICA, Miss. -- Minutes after he'd beaten Brian Baker in straight sets to win the inaugural Harrah's Entertainment $50,000 Men's Pro Challenger, James Blake was asked to recall his last tournament victory.

Blake scrolled through the many events he had played before Saturday night, but it wasn't clear if it was an ATP Tour event in Washington, or a lower-level Challenger tournament in Hawaii.

After what Blake's been through the past year -- a freak injury, a scary illness and the death of his father -- he can be forgiven if his memory was clouded.

What wasn't hazy after he dispatched Baker, 6-2, 6-3, on the indoor clay surface at Tunica National Golf & Tennis Club was Blake regaining the confidence and shot-making ability that carried him to a top 25 world ranking two years ago.

Relying on a steady serve that produced six aces -- and an athleticism that earned him a regular spot on the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2001 to '03 -- Blake won for the first time since claiming his only ATP Tour victory three years ago in Washington.

The win was his fourth on the Challenger circuit -- one step below the ATP Tour -- which he was playing for the first time in three years.

''It's great to win at this level, any level,'' Blake said. ''It feels great to come in here and accomplish what you wanted to do: play as well as you can and control the things you can control.''

Blake, 25, lost only one set during the week. It came in a tough three-set win over France's Jerome Golmard in the second round. He also beat No. 3 seed Paul Goldstein, steady baseliner Brian Vahaly and Baker, a rising American, and Nashville native, who was the USTA Pro Circuit's leading money winner in 2004. The USTA Pro Circuit consists of Challengers and Futures, two minor professional circuits.

''Any of these players (in this field) could be making a run to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open in a couple of months,'' Blake said. ''Brian has the ability. For him it's a just a matter of stringing it together. I knew there was a chance he could come out on a day like today and beat a player like me.

''I'm happy I got through it, I'm happy I got through this week beating some pretty tough players.''

Last year's series of unfortunate events for Blake led to a rankings freefall. He entered the Harrah's Challenger 187th, or two years removed from a career-best No. 22 ranking. With the win, his ranking should climb about 30 spots -- or somewhere in the mid-150s -- according to his coach Brian Barker.

''I think a win is extremely important for James,'' Barker said. ''This level is just off the Tour level, but there's very little difference between the guys out here and the guys on Tour, except for those in the top 10. This will help his confidence. He beat five good players in a row.''

Baker, 20, was playing in his first tournament in months after tearing ligaments in his left wrist during the ATP Tour stop in Memphis. Ranked 195th, Baker had earned a berth in the finals with a win over No. 6 seed Juan Pablo Brzezicki in the semis and an upset of No. 8 Juan-Pablo Guzman in the second round.

But Blake presented problems others hadn't.

Blake rifled return winners, blocked back point-blank volley winners, hustled to make spectacular passing shots from the baseline and chased down drop shots. After two breaks of Baker's serve had given Blake a relatively routine opening-set, Blake used three impressive winners to break Baker in the second set to go up, 4-3.

The break came when he followed a sliding, half-volley winner with a backhand return winner down the line. He then broke Baker again to win the match, blasting a forehand winner off a short ball.

''The way he's playing now ... it shouldn't take him long to get back up there (in the rankings),'' Baker said.

Blake will travel to Forest Hills, N.Y., to play in another Challenger event before flying to Paris and playing the qualifying tournament for the French Open.

''After you get a win like this, it kind of steadies you for the rest of the year,'' Blake said. ''You know you have the ability, but you're no longer doubting yourself in a third-set tiebreaker. You've won so you know you must doing something right. Hopefully that feeling is going to continue.''

05-08-2005, 05:39 PM
I didn't realize Baker had been injured all this time. Thanks for posting the article Deb.

05-09-2005, 03:21 AM
thanks for the article. and great job james! :hug:

05-09-2005, 05:01 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=12889&bannerregion=Tennis In Times Square on Tuesday
By Tennis Week

Tennis comes to Times Square tomorrow — and you can hit the street to take on the pros. Yonkers-born James Blake, New Jersey native Justin Gimelstob and Long Island’s Scott Lipsky will pound the pavement in Times Square starting at 1 p.m. tomorrow for an afternoon of Tennis and Jazz in Times Square to launch this week’s Forest Hills Clay Court classic at the Westside Tennis Club.

The pros will perfom an exhibition from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday followed by a concert by jazz great David Sanborn from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at the Times Square Studios, Broadway and West 44th Streets. Spectators can hit with the pros from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Tennis wheelchair champions including two-time Paralympian Karin Korb, and Olympians from NYC2012’s Circle of Olympians, including gold medalists Sarah Hughes and Oksana Baiul, will be on hand from 1-5 p.m. in Times Square. Spectators are encouraged to attend.

Admission is free to the Forest Hills Clay Court Tennis Classic is free through the semifinals on May 13th. Admission to the finals on May 14 is $10 for adults; $5 for children. Tickets will be sold at the gate.

"New York City is very excited to welcome these top international tennis players from around the world," said Wendy Hilliard, NYC2012’s Director of Sports. "As we approach the final stages of the 2012 Olympic bid process, The Forest Hills Clay Court Classic and Tennis and Jazz in Times Square are terrific examples of the city’s dedication to promoting and showcasing Olympic sports on a grand stage."

Other activity during the Forest Hills Clay Court Classic tournament week includes youth tennis clinics, a wheelchair tennis exhibition on Wednesday, May 11th and dinner and a jazz concert with saxophonist Geoff Mattoon on Friday evening, May 13th, all at The West Side Tennis Club. Tickets for the jazz concert/dinner may be purchased by calling The West Side Tennis Club at (718) 268-2300. For more information on the Forest Hills Clay Court Classic, please visit Forest Hills Tennis web site.

05-10-2005, 12:41 AM
:eek: i wish i could go :(

05-10-2005, 04:09 AM
http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=12895&bannerregion=Biofile: The James Blake Interview
By Scoop Malinowski

Years before James Blake began turning tennis courts into shooting galleries to fire his forehand at the lines as if engaged in target practice, he was already recognized as a player willing to pull the trigger. But Blake's future teammates didn't have his shot-making skill in mind when they bestowed him with his first title — Squirt Gun.

"On the Harvard team, most of the guys had nicknames," Blake recalls. "My brother (Thomas) was Tommy Gun. So the first time I came up for a visit — I was 5-foot-4, a little kid — and so they called me Squirt Gun."

The amiable Blake may sometime spray shots on the golf course — he's an avid recreational golfer who plays with older brother Thomas Blake and good friend and fellow pro Mardy Fish — but he's made his mark as a sportsman in tennis, whose intelligence, quiet class and self-deprecating sense of humor make him a popular presence among his peers.

The Yonkers, New York native has maintained his sense of perspective after enduring the most personally painful and professionally challenging season of his career last year as his father, Thomas Blake, passed away. Blake's parents, Thomas and Betty, introduced both James and his older brother Thomas to tennis and have been a constant source of support to their sons at matches throughout their careers.

In May, Blake sustained the most serious injury of his career when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck during an accident on court. Pursuing a drop shot in a May practice session with Robby Ginepri on the red clay of Rome, Blake burst forward full speed when his foot caught on the clay and he slammed head first into the net post with such force his neck snapped back before his body crumpled to the court. The injury Blake sustained as a result of the collision sidelined him for two months.

Completing his recovery from the collision, Blake was stricken with a virus called Zoster that left his face partially paralyzed for months, affected his equilibrium and diminished his sense of hearing and taste.

Putting the pain of 2004 behind him, Blake is showing signs of regaining the form he displayed in reaching a career-high rank of No. 22 on May 5th, 2003. He held a set point that would have given him a two sets to love lead against Lleyton Hewitt in the second round of the Australian Open before falling in four sets. He held match points against former No. 1 Carlos Moya in Miami before bowing, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7(6). Though hard courts have always been Blake's best surface he has registered solid results on clay, reaching the Houston quarterfinals and winning last week's Tunica Challenger.

Currently ranked No. 164, Blake, who learned to play tennis at the Harlem Junior Tennis Center, returns to his New York roots for this week's Forest Hills Clay Court Classic. He will appear in Times Square at 1 p.m. tomorrow for an afternoon of Tennis and Jazz to launch this week’s Forest Hills Clay Court classic at the Westside Tennis Club.

Tennis Week.com contributing writer Scoop Malinowski caught up with Blake for this Biofile interview.

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 170 pounds.

Born On: December 28th, 1979 in Yonkers, New York.

Childhood Heroes: "Does it have to be in tennis? I'd say Michael Jordan impressed me with how he got ready for every game. And he had to show everyone he was the best every time he stepped on that court."

Nicknames: "Junior. JB. Squirt Gun — luckily that was short-lived. On the Harvard team, most of the guys had nicknames. One guy gave most of the guys their nicknames. And my brother (Thomas) was Tommy Gun. So the first time I came up for a visit — I was 5-foot-4, a little kid — and so they called me Squirt Gun."

Hobbies/Interests: "Play golf — I'm not that good, but it's a lot of fun. Play some basketball."

Favorite Movies: "Braveheart, Good Will Hunting."

Musical Tastes: "R&B, rap, classic rock, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, Master P, Snoop Doggy Dogg, John Mayer, Brandy, R Kelly."

Early Tennis Memory: "Hmmm, let's see. Winning my first New England Open when I was 11, at Brown University in Rhode Island. I was really happy. At the time it seemed so important."

Childhood Dream: "Being at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon or the French Open. Things I dreamed about. I'd go to the U.S. Open every year as a kid. One or two years I might have even snuck in!"

First Job: "Paperboy for the Bridgeport Post (age 10). I did it for five years. That was a lot of fun. My brother and I shared the route."

First Car: "Hand-me-down from my brother, which was already bought used. A 1987 crimson Toyota Celica with dents all over it. The stereo barely worked. Put a sticker on it and called it The Harvard Mobile."

Funny Tennis Memory: "The first time Thomas and I played doubles together was at the U.S. Open in qualies ('97). We didn't think we were gonna get a wildcard. So we were actually out on the first tee, ready to tee off, in Trumbull, Connecticut. And I didn't even think to call down to see if we got a wildcard. And we were playing with my coach and another Harvard teammate. And they said, 'You might as well just call before we go out.' So I call down and go back and tell them I think we might only get in nine holes because we have to be down in New York in an hour and a half. They thought I was kidding. So we have to run to the car, run home and change into our clothes. We flew down here. We ended up getting down and the match was delayed. We didn't even think we were gonna play. We ended up playing a great match, we lost 7-6 in the third to Davide Sanguinetti and another player I forget his name. And it was a lot of fun."

Pre-Match Feeling: "Try to get a game plan pretty early. Before I go out to a match, I think about how I'm going to play and think about the feeling of winning it. I always want to think about that feeling. So it's never a surprise. I don't want to be surprised to win."

Favorite Meal: "Just pizza."

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: "Golden Grahams."

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Pralines and cream. No, sorry, now it's double fudge brownie."

Greatest Sports Moment: "Every match I win is a pretty big deal for me. I never really expected any of this. I didn't really set goals to be like top 50 or anything like that. I was going to college, planning on going for four years. So this is all just a lot of fun for me. I feel like I'm getting better every day. My best win ever was probably over Andre Agassi in Washington (2002). The U.S. Open is a big deal for me. There's nothing more important to me than the U.S. Open and Davis Cup. Playing for your country — you put your heart into it. When I hear 'Advantage, USA' or 'Game, USA,' you realize you're not playing tennis for yourself."

Most Painful Moment: "Every time I lose a match I think, This is a terrible feeling. I don't want it any more. But it's still tennis, it's still fun. Like Jimmy Connors said, his favorite thing in the world is to go out and win a tennis match. His second favorite is to go out and lose a tennis match."

Favorite Athletes To Watch: "Americans in tennis — Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, Todd Martin — he was always kind of a favorite of mine. Randy Moss. Shaq (is) incredible. Mike Piazza and the Mets. Tiger Woods. I love seeing everything he's gone through. Sometimes I feel bad for the things he has to deal with. But I also have to understand that's the way he chose and he brought it on himself by doing so well. Roy Jones Jr. Tyson back in the day. Just ran through people. Women's tennis? I can't say I follow it that much. But maybe I did like watching Steffi Graf; (she) seemed like a really great person and someone that was going to be nice no matter what happened. A great champion. Another great champion was Patrick Rafter. He's a class act, someone I admire a lot. I played him in (the third round at) Cincinnati (lost 7-6(7), 6-2 after defeating Arnaud Clement and Julien Boutter). After the match, he was telling me, 'You could have beaten me today. You could beat me on any given day. It's just that maybe you didn't believe you could.' For him to say that to me...he didn't need to. He could have just said he played horribly. He was worrying about playing the rest of the tournament, he had a million friends in the locker room, not like he needed one more. He was just helping out a kid that was struggling with his confidence. He really helped me a lot that day. Until then I didn't feel that I belonged on the ATP Tour at all. After that, I started thinking, Maybe he's right, maybe I do belong out here. Now I realize I can play with those guys. Patrick really made a difference in my career."

Closest Tennis Friends: "Mardy Fish is probably my best friend on the tour. But I'm friends with a lot of the guys."

People Qualities Most Admired: "Honesty. Someone who's gonna be with you from beginning to end no matter what happens. Someone you can always count on."

Scoop Malinowski created the Biofile interview in 1992. Scoop is a Tennisweek.com contributor (his last Tennis Week story was Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew), noted boxing expert and an accomplished recreational tennis player who recently pushed a reigning senior world champion to a tiebreak set. Please check out his site www.thebiofile.com. To read more of Scoop's Biofiles on this site, please type Biofile in the search box located in the upper left corner of the screen.

05-10-2005, 05:14 AM
James into the second round 6-1 6-2. Don't know anything about the Swedish guy he plays next -- probably on Wed?

05-10-2005, 08:18 AM
What's the Swedish guy's name?

05-10-2005, 02:23 PM
James into the second round 6-1 6-2. Don't know anything about the Swedish guy he plays next -- probably on Wed?I can't say I've EVER heard of him! lol

Sue, yea, James is a great guy. He seems to have no sense of embarrassment, he's just real, and honest. One of the things I like about him :)

05-12-2005, 12:44 AM
James is in the QF against Armando! He beat Adaktusson (WHO) 6-2 6-0!! Go James Go! With this result already, James is closing in on the top 150. One more win and he could do it for sure! WAHOOOOOOO!

05-12-2005, 12:47 AM
James is in the QF against Armando! He beat Adaktusson (WHO) 6-2 6-0!! Go James Go! With this result already, James is closing in on the top 150. One more win and he could do it for sure! WAHOOOOOOO!
:lol: my thoughts exactly! good job james, keep up the good work :hug:
this week the top 150 up next top 100, there's no stopping james! :D

05-12-2005, 01:36 AM
The rate James is going, he has a good chance to qualify for RG, which is also worth points. But even if he doesn't, he has a really good chance to qualify for Wimby. And hopefully he'll just keep plugging away and catch maybe a good draw here or there and get into USO directly and end the year within the top 100 :D

05-12-2005, 01:50 AM
i really hope james qualifies for wimby, i'm going and would die to see him. :hearts:

05-12-2005, 02:00 AM
Hey how are your exams going? Doing ok I hope!the first three were ok. Today, not so OK. but thank god only one more left. thanks for asking:)

05-12-2005, 02:12 AM
the first three were ok. Today, not so OK. but thank god only one more left. thanks for asking:)
good luck on your exam! :hug:

05-12-2005, 02:20 AM
Yeah for you only one more to go! Hope you have plans to celebrate afterwards! Well what a question of course you do! ;) I'm going home for a few days... looking forward to being able to sleep as much as I want and have my parents wait on me hand and foot. Plus my mom's the best cook ever and she's already planning all the meals she's gonna make for me while I'm home LOL. I'll make myself a nice margarita friday afternoon to celebrate ;)

Hey is Taylor still out with his injury?I believe so.. I don't know if he'll play Dusseldorf or not, but at this point he's probably better off just putting all his efforts into the grass season where he actually has a chance at winning some matches :p

Any chance they might ask James to play Dusseldorf?I think his ranking is so low that if he were to play the US team would get dropped out (much like Australia with Hewitt pulling out). Plus, the RG qualifying starts next Tuesday, so James can't play Dusseldorf if he wants to play RG.

I would think that RR atmosphere might be good for practice on clay pre FO? Andy might have gotten good practice there too. I know many players don't like to play it but I really don't understand why not? Guess I should do some reading up on it before saying that :oAndy played in 2002. But since he hired Brad, he has not played a week before the slams, save for an exhibition match or two. Andy's got enough matches in him this year, and actually so does James. I think that a lot of players, if they're gonna play that many matches on clay, they at least want to get some rankings points for it? I don't know, I'm just assuming. Plus, it's always the week right before RG, and many of the top players never play the week before a Slam. Andy hasn't played a tourney the week before a slam since St. Poelten 2003 and we know what happened after that. So yeah, I think that's why it's not that popular with the top top players. But I'm just speculating :)

05-12-2005, 10:00 PM
It sounds like James won his QF! That puts him into the top 150 most likely, perhaps even close to 140!!!!!!!

05-13-2005, 03:22 AM
Hey is Taylor still out with his injury?

Studly Taylor is still out. I suspect he's skipping clay.

05-13-2005, 03:24 AM
It sounds like James won his QF! That puts him into the top 150 most likely, perhaps even close to 140!!!!!!!

05-13-2005, 03:16 PM
Blake advances to Forest Hills semifinals
May 12, 2005
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- James Blake took another step back from injury, advancing to the semifinals of the Forest Hills Clay Court Championship with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory over second-seeded Hugo Armando on Thursday.


Blake was sidelined most of last year because of injuries to his neck and spine. He was hurt in May 2004 when he fell and slammed into a net post while chasing a drop shot during a practice session in Rome after losing in the Italian Open.

"The winds were tough today and I let the conditions get to me in the second set," said Blake, who played for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2001-03.

"Prior to the start of the second set, I was so frustrated that I decided to just play my game - win or lose. When I began my comeback at the start of the year I was up and down and had no idea what to expect. Not so now, as I have a plan for every match."

Blake's semifinals opponent will be Argentina's Juan Pablo Brzezicki, who eliminated Nathan Healy of Australia 7-6 (8-6), 6-0.

Fourth-seeded Juan Pablo Guzman, also of Argentina, rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Russian-born Alex Bogomolov Jr., who now lives in Miami.

Guzman will play Dusan Vemic of Serbia-Montenegro, who advanced when Michael Russell of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., injured his ankle during the match.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

05-13-2005, 10:22 PM
James won 6-1 6-7 7-5 :woohoo:

into the finals! Should put James within the top 140!!!!!!!

05-14-2005, 02:15 AM

05-14-2005, 03:10 AM
:yippee: james, i'm so proud of you!! :hug:

05-14-2005, 03:55 AM
if he wins, he could be close to the top 130! Amazing to think that 2 weeks ago he was 187.

05-14-2005, 03:25 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=2059815Updated: May 13, 2005, 8:27 PM ET
Brzezicki loses temper, point in final set
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Seventh-seeded James Blake, a former U.S. Davis Cup player, rallied after facing a match point and beat No. 4 Juan Pablo Brzezicki on Friday to reach the finals of the Forest Hills Clay Court Championship.

Blake will face Dusan Vemic for the title on Saturday with the 26-year-old from Tampa, Fla., going for his second straight Challenger Series championship. He won last week at Tunica, Miss.

Blake beat Brzezicki 6-1, 6-7 (3), 7-5, while Vemic eliminated No. 5 Juan Pablo Guzman 6-4, 7-5.

Brzezicki's temper proved to be costly when he was leading 5-4 and on serve in the third set. He disagreed with a linesman's call, threw his racket and was assessed a penalty point by the umpire that brought Blake into a 5-5 tie.

Blake, ranked as high as No. 22 earlier in his career, breezed through the next three points. Brzezicki got to 40-15, but Blake closed out the match.

"After he was penalized," Blake said, "I was concerned that he might jump on that and really fight back. That's when I concentrated even harder to make sure I would win.

"In the second set I got overconfident after having such an easy time in the opener and it almost cost me."

05-15-2005, 12:15 AM
James won the title!!!!!!!!!!! :woohoo:
Blake wins clay court championship

May 14, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) -- James Blake won his second title in as many weeks, defeating Dusan Vemic of Serbia and Montenegro 6-3, 6-4 in the Forest Hills Clay Court Classic on Saturday.

The seventh-seeded Blake also won a Challenger event in Tunica, Miss., last week. The back-to-back victories were his first since playing on the Futures circuit his rookie season.

It's certainly an improvement from last year. The former U.S. Davis Cup player broke his neck last May crashing into the net during a practice, and later was diagnosed with Zoster, an illness that affected his sight and hearing and temporarily paralyzed part of his face.

``My health is 100 percent,'' said Blake, ranked No. 130 in the world. ``Winning two weeks in a row is great. The goal now is to get my ranking to where it was.''

Blake, who was ranked a career-best 22nd before his injury, will try to qualify for the next two Grand Slams, the French Open and Wimbledon, before returning to hardcourts.

``I'll go on the hardcourt circuit when I get back to the U.S.,'' he said. ``I have already been promised some wild cards.'' :D:D:D:D:D

05-15-2005, 12:22 AM
Here are 2 articles from Tennis week, one on the SF and one on the Final. I didn't know he saved 3 MPs, that's amazing!!!! :D:D:D
Blake Fights Off Three Match Points To Reach Forest Hills Final
By Beth Raisin

An hour before he took the court for today's semifinal, James Blake sat next to his mother, Betty, on a patch of grass beneath the locker room window of the West Side Tennis Club. Mother and son shared quiet conversation while watching some club members trade shots on the har-tru courts through the fence in front of them.

Blake spent much of last season on the outside looking in, but if his results in recent Challenger circuit events are any indication, he still has plenty of quality tennis in front of him.

The Yonkers, New York native thrilled supporters today by fighting off three match points at 4-5 in the final set to earn a 6-1, 6-7(3), 7-5 victory over Argentina's Juan Pablo Brzezicki and advance to the final of the Forest Hills Clay Court Classic at the historic West Side Tennis Club.

The 25-year-old Blake will play Dusan Vemic of Serbia and Montenegro in Saturday's 1 p.m. final at the historic West Side Tennis Club.

"Dusan’s very interesting to play," said Blake. "I don’t think there is anyone else like him in the game. He’s an incredible athlete — he’s got great touch and a big serve. You can never take him lightly."

Vemic defeated defending champion Juan Pablo Guzman of Argentina in straight sets in today's first semifinal. Guzman had beaten Vemic the three previous times they played, including a victory in last year's Forest Hills Clay Court Classic final.

"I was committed to run and fight this year," said Vemic. "Last year, I lost 6-1, 6-1 because I didn’t want to run."

Using a variety of drop shots to keep his opponent moving all over the court, Vemic successfully attacked when he had the opportunity.

"Guzman didn’t play his best and I took advantage of that," said Vemic.

Injury-induced inactivity has caused Blake's rank to drop to No. 164, but he believes he has lifted his level of play since his return to tournament tennis this year. Blake pushed former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to four sets at the Australian Open and held match points against former No. 1 Carlos Moya before bowing at the Nasdaq-100 Open on Key Biscayne.

"I feel I’m there. I feel like I am playing better than ever," Blake said when asked to assess his current form compared to his level of play when he attained a career-high rank of No. 22 two years ago.

In his fifth month back on the tour after a six-month hiatus due to injury and illness, Blake is gaining momentum as he prepares for Saturday's final followed by a trip to Paris where he will attempt to qualify for the French Open next week.

"I haven’t had a bad tournament on clay and its not even my best surface," Blake said.

Blake, who won Challenger circuit championships on clay at River Oaks and then at Tunica, Mississippi last week, started strong on center court at Forest Hills, jumping out to a 6-1 lead. He faltered in the second set in losing focus and finally surrendering the set in a tiebreak.

"I might have gotten a little over-confident and I wasn’t moving my feet well," Blake said. "He stopped missing and I was backing up."

The third set was back and forth as the players traded breaks. With Blake serving at 4-5, Brezizcki got to match point on a combination of passing shot and errors by Blake. But the former U.S. Davis Cup player dug down deep to begin his comeback.

"All the recent match wins have given me confidence," said Blake. "I have won big matches before, so I knew I could win it."

A volley winner gave Blake the break as he evened the set at five-all. Blake kept up the attack as the Argentine fell behind 15-40 on his serve. Frustrated, Brezizcki tossed his racquet to the back of the court near a linesperson. It was one display of temper too many for the chair umpire, who assessed a penalty point, giving Blake the game. As he served for the match, Blake was focused on maintaining his concentration and dictating the pace. He took a quick 40-0 lead, and after a missed forehand, served out the match at 15.


Blake Wins Forest Hills Clay Court Classic
By Beth Raisin

James Blake celebrated a happy homecoming by collecting his second consecutive Challenger championship in as many weeks today. The Yonkers, New York native dispatched Dusan Vemic, 6-3, 6-4, to win the $50,000 Forest Hills Clay Court Classic at the historic West Side Tennis Club.

It was the 10th consecutive victory for the 164th-ranked Blake, who won the Tunica, Mississippi Challenger last week.

With his mother, Betty, brother, Thomas, and several high school and middle school friends providing support, Blake broke serve early in each set to take leads he never relinquished.

The 25-year-old Blake, who learned to play tennis at the Harlem Junior Tennis Center, competed in several junior tournaments at Forest Hills while growing up in Yonkers and Fairfield, Connecticut. The fabled Forest Hills grounds felt as comfortable to Blake as a backyard court.

"This feels like a home court tournament for me," said Blake, who reached a career-high rank of No. 22 two years ago, but was sidelined by injury and illness for much of last year. " My health is 100 percent. Winning two weeks in a row is great. The goal now is to get my ranking to where it was."

In contrast to Friday’s semifinal where he fought off three match points at 4-5 in the final set, Blake was in complete command from start to finish today.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Blake closed with authority, cracking two service winners and an ace to take the title.

Though he was not completely satisfied with his serve today, Blake was broken only once in the match. His foot speed and ferocious forehand that he drilled from every position on the court prevented Vemic from utilizing the drop shot he had yielded so effectively in confounding opponents en route to his second straight Forest Hills final.

"James seized his opportunities when he had them today," Vemic said. "And then in the second set, he took some chances on his forehand when I had a break point. And it worked for him — he has one of the best forehands in the world."

After ascending to the title, Blake was airborne as he boarded a plane to Paris immediately after the match to travel to Roland Garros where he will compete in the French Open qualifying on Tuesday.

"I really had only one letdown all week," said Blake, referring to his semifinal match against Juan-Pablo Brzezicki in which he had to stave off three match points. "And I feel like I played some of my best tennis in the third set of my quarterfinal against Hugo Armando."

In a personally and professionally painful 2004 season, Blake endured the loss of his father, Thomas, who passed away last summer, survived a fractured vertebrae in his beck after colliding with a net post in Rome and was beset by a condition called Zoster that affected his vision and hearing and left his face partially paralyzed. Though he lost time from tennis due to his travails, Blake believes he gained a sense of perspective in the process.

"I have a new perspective," said Blake. "When I was 23, winning a tennis match was the most important thing in the world to me. Now I really know that tennis is just a game; win or lose, my friends and family will still be there for me. So I don’t get quite as tense, and that helps me play better."

Following his efforts to qualify for the French Open, Blake plans to play the Wimbledon qualifier. He will return to the U.S. to compete in the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 4-10th on the Hall's historic grass-court grounds in Newport, Rhode Island. The 2002 Hall of Fame finalist has already received wild card offers for the North American summer hard-court season; the former Fairfield resident and Harvard all American would be a well-known draw for the new New Haven men’s event on the campus of Yale University.

"I'll go on the hardcourt circuit when I get back to the U.S.," Blake said. "I have already been promised some wild cards."

05-15-2005, 02:53 AM
This is great news. :D Congrats James on your second title! :bigclap: :banana: :aparty: :dance: This will be a much-needed confidence booster to help get him back to his winning ways and gain entry into the slams. Keep up the great work and improvement, James. :woohoo:

05-15-2005, 03:07 AM
OMG James YAY!!!!! I'm so happy :woohoo: :yippee: :banana: :bigclap: :rocker2: *smile overlaod*

05-15-2005, 11:13 PM
the new rankings are officially out and James is up 32 :eek: spots to 132!! That's officially 55 spots in 2 weeks. :worship:

05-16-2005, 01:19 AM
Rock and Roll Jimmy Jam!

05-16-2005, 02:10 PM
James :bowdown: