James in Oz 2007 [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

James in Oz 2007

MrJ
01-03-2007, 12:02 PM
We can use this thread to talk about James tournaments in Australia. He starts off in Sydney where he is the defending Champ!! :)

The tournaments is really strong this year so it will be tough for James to defend. Here is the entry list:-

1 Rafael Nadal ESP 2
2 Nikolay Davydenko RUS 3
3 James Blake USA 4
4 Marcos Baghdatis CYP 12
5 Tomas Berdych CZE 13
6 Richard Gasquet FRA 18
7 Lleyton Hewitt AUS 20
8 Joachim Johansson SWE @21
9 Dmitry Tursunov RUS 22
10 Sebastien Grosjean FRA 28
11 Fernando Verdasco ESP 35
12 Xavier Malisse BEL 37
13 Fillippo Volandri ITA 38
14 Julien Benneteau FRA 40
15 Jurgen Melzer AUT 41
16 Arnaud Clement FRA 42
17 Carlos Moya ESP 43
18 Hyung-Taik Lee KOR 49
19 Marc Gicquel FRA 50
20 Robby Ginepri USA 51
21 Fabrice Santoro FRA 52
22 Paradorn Srichaphan THA 53
23 Paul-Henri Mathieu FRA 55
24 (SE)
25 (SE)
26 (Q)
27 (Q)
28 (Q)
29 (Q)
30 (WC)
31 (WC)
32 (WC)

Maybe another Rafa thrashing awaits ;)

delsa
01-04-2007, 04:57 PM
Good luck James! :)

mrserenawilliams
01-05-2007, 03:59 AM
gooooooo James! :bounce:

MrJ
01-06-2007, 10:31 AM
Here´s the draw!!

First match could be tough against Malisse (if his head is screwed on) but James leads 2-0 on h2h.

(1) NADAL, Rafael ESP vs. (WC) GUCCIONE, Chris AUS
MELZER, Jurgen AUT vs. SANTORO, Fabrice FRA
QUALIFIER vs. SRICHAPHAN, Paradorn THA
QUALIFIER vs. (5) BERDYCH, Tomas CZE

(3) BLAKE, James USA vs. MALISSE, Xavier BEL
(SE) KOUBEK, Stefan AUT vs. (WC) HEALEY, Nathan AUS
GINEPRI, Robby USA vs. MAYER, Florian GER
LEE, Hyung-Taik KOR vs. (7) TURSUNOV, Dmitry RUS

(8) GROSJEAN, Sebastien FRA vs. VERDASCO, Fernando ESP
MOYA, Carlos ESP vs. BOURGEOIS, Luke AUS
QUALIFIER vs. JOHANSSON, Joachim SWE
QUALIFIER vs. (4) BAGHDATIS, Marcos CYP

(6) GASQUET, Richard FRA vs. BENNETEAU, Julien FRA
BECKER, Benjamin GER vs. VOLANDRI, Filippo ITA
CLEMENT, Arnaud FRA vs. MATHIEU, Paul-Henri FRA
(SE) SPADEA, Vincent USA vs. (2) DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS

Go JAMES!!!

mishar
01-06-2007, 01:21 PM
Yes I agree, that's a first tough match of the season.. Could easily see James losing that one, but hopefully not!

MrJ
01-06-2007, 02:07 PM
Yes I agree, that's a first tough match of the season.. Could easily see James losing that one, but hopefully not!

Well he just beat Nadal, so his confidence levels will be very high. That said, his game doesnt match up very well against James so I still expect JB to come through in the end. :scared:

Deboogle!.
01-06-2007, 02:30 PM
what a brutal draw :eek: not just for james but in general, a tough little draw :eek:

2moretogo
01-07-2007, 04:53 PM
Should be a nice tune-up for AO! Go James!

cobalt60
01-07-2007, 10:59 PM
Here's to a good match James with you as the winner:yeah: Tough first round.

goodwoman
01-08-2007, 02:52 AM
Best wishes in 2007, James! Start it off with a win. You can do it!

MrJ
01-08-2007, 11:32 AM
Both Malisse and Tursunov have withdrawn so it really has opened up for James to get through his quarter. :)

James plays Kevin Kim tomorrow!!

GO JAMES!! :worship:

cobalt60
01-08-2007, 07:30 PM
Here's to a good match James with you as the winner:yeah: Tough first round.

No longer a tough first round or draw; at least on paper;) I know you start slow JB but let's see what you got!

Grinder
01-09-2007, 01:08 AM
James brushes by Kevin in 46 minutes with a 6-3 6-4 victory. :yeah:

Koubek or Healey up next, both are very winnable!

Enja
01-09-2007, 01:09 AM
:bigclap: :bigclap:
James Blake d. Kevin Kim 63 64

mrserenawilliams
01-09-2007, 03:10 AM
:bigclap: GO Blake!

Fergie
01-09-2007, 03:11 AM
Good win James! :yeah:

MrJ
01-09-2007, 12:14 PM
Good luck against Healy, James!!! :worship: :)

cobalt60
01-09-2007, 12:55 PM
Nice :cool:

mishar
01-09-2007, 02:08 PM
Good start for Jimmy B! Is he playing Koubek next? Nice chance for some revenge after that horrible choking loss 5 years ago in Melbourne!

MrJ
01-09-2007, 05:17 PM
Good start for Jimmy B! Is he playing Koubek next? Nice chance for some revenge after that horrible choking loss 5 years ago in Melbourne!

He plays Nathan Healey. :)

Grinder
01-10-2007, 05:09 AM
James beat Nathan Healey 6-2 6-4 in 56 minutes, next up is the rising Russian, Evgeny Korolev.

Let's make it to the semis James. :yeah:

MrJ
01-10-2007, 05:52 AM
Wow, James is really in a hurry this year. These are almost practice matches so far, at least he is not going to be shattered by the Aussie Open. :)

cobalt60
01-10-2007, 11:43 AM
Very nice indeed.

2moretogo
01-10-2007, 04:10 PM
good job james!

mishar
01-10-2007, 07:11 PM
Yes, hopefully James can make it through it to the final without expending too much energy so he won't run out of steam early in Melbourne like he did last year.. He actually wasn't playing that well in Australia despite winning the title here. He really didn't start playing well in 06 until Las Vegas, I think.

But he's done well on the RA surface before.. and hopefully for 07, he can be more consistent during the year, not dip so often...

Grinder
01-11-2007, 01:06 AM
James beat Evgeny Korolev 6-1 6-4 in 52 minutes, Berdych/Melzer up next. :yeah:

cobalt60
01-11-2007, 01:46 AM
:banana:

MrJ
01-11-2007, 07:14 AM
He plays Melzer next!! Keep up the form James :) :worship:

Jlee
01-11-2007, 10:01 PM
It's in my avatar, but I love this pic :D...

http://i1.tinypic.com/49icnqs.jpg

It just sums it up...James in Oz!

Good luck to James!!

Grinder
01-12-2007, 02:34 AM
Melzer pulled out, James gets a walkover to the final where he'll face the winner of Moya/Gasquet. Hoping it'll be Moya so that James will have a preview of the AO.

Jlee
01-12-2007, 04:27 AM
Melzer pulled out, James gets a walkover to the final where he'll face the winner of Moya/Gasquet. Hoping it'll be Moya so that James will have a preview of the AO.

What!? Why is everyone pulling out??

Ah well. I'm hopping for Moya too.

GO JAMES!

mishar
01-12-2007, 04:39 AM
James has spent about 2 1/2 hours on the court -- I think that's excellent. His draw in Melbourne is not easy. I think he should beat Moya, but the former finalist is certainly not a dream first round opponent. Then in the fourth round Hewitt or Gonzo will be very tough. Then possibly Nadal -- who if healthy, is definitely a threat on this surface.

However, if James can keep it together and bring his best stuff, he also has a shot at the final -- Roddick and Safin and Federer in the other half.

Jlee
01-12-2007, 05:27 AM
James has spent about 2 1/2 hours on the court -- I think that's excellent. His draw in Melbourne is not easy. I think he should beat Moya, but the former finalist is certainly not a dream first round opponent. Then in the fourth round Hewitt or Gonzo will be very tough. Then possibly Nadal -- who if healthy, is definitely a threat on this surface.

However, if James can keep it together and bring his best stuff, he also has a shot at the final -- Roddick and Safin and Federer in the other half.

:yeah:

I definitely think he has a shot to get to the final. He can beat Nadal if he holds it together mentally, and there aren't many other people there. He just has to keep his head and NOT do what he did at Wimbly. I'd love to see an all American final...:drool:

MrJ
01-12-2007, 12:08 PM
I think James will have more problems in the early rounds looking at the draw. If he could some how get past Moya and either Hewitt/Gonzalez then he looks good for the final.

Im dreading this first round match. :unsure: Although Moya has played so many matches so he could be exhausted.

cobalt60
01-12-2007, 01:55 PM
Another final :yeah: Go James!

MrJ
01-13-2007, 10:58 AM
Another final :yeah: Go James!

Another title :worship: :worship:

http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/4d/full.getty-tennis-wta-atp-aus-moya_6_31_58_am.jpg

James won 6-3 5-7 6-1 but the choking continues he was 4-0 and 5-3 deuce in the second set. :o

Title no. 9 :bigclap: :rocker:

Now on to Melbourne, I guess he will have a mental edge going into rematch. Also, its likely to be a night match which James loves. :)

MrJ
01-13-2007, 11:38 AM
Here are some more pics of the trophy presentation!! :)

http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/e5/full.getty-72657642cs016_2007_medibank_6_26_38_am.jpg

http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/a0/full.getty-tennis-wta-atp-aus-moya_6_32_40_am.jpg

So sweet!! :smooch:

mishar
01-13-2007, 01:46 PM
The choking is awful, but I can't complain too much when he's undefeated and title-winning already in 2007!

mishar
01-13-2007, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the nice pics, Mr. J! You think the rematch will be at night? I think it might be earlier in the day so it can be seen on American TV, but I could be wrong.

Here is a nice article -- more propaganda from the pro-Blake media (hee, hee) -- from the Sydney morning herald.

He's one of the real gentlemen on the professional circuit but James Blake's competitive fires are burning more brightly than ever, Winsor Dobbin writes.

JAMES Blake goes into the Australian Open with his name up in lights. He was the winner of five tournaments in 2006, is a respected top-five player, the highest-ranked American and a genuine title contender.

But 30 months ago he was wondering if he'd ever play tennis again.

It's been a remarkable turnaround for one of the most popular players in the sport; a man apparently without enemies in a world of internecine warfare.

There is no doubt 2004 was Blake's annus horribilis.

While practising for the Masters event in Rome, he fractured a vertebra in his neck when he ran into a net post. Then, after losing his father to cancer, he developed a severe case of shingles that temporarily paralysed his face and blurred his vision.

He despaired, but fought back. Not for the first time. For five years as a teenager he had curvature of the spine and had to wear a full-length brace 18 hours a day. For five years.

Such experiences have moulded the man.

"If anyone had told me in 2004 that I'd be where I am today, I would have tested their blood alcohol level," he says.

"It's crazy, but that time made me realise how quickly things can change; how anything can happen.

"I believe things happen for a reason and maybe I needed that time off to give me a little more perspective. I certainly have a calmer attitude and it's been such a fun ride getting here."

Blake, a powerful right-hander who loves getting to the net, believes his 2004 woes helped prepare him for the challenges he faces as he takes on big guns Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"It was harder to get back into things mentally, more than physically," he says. "Confidence is the thing you have to get back.

"Tennis is very much a mental challenge and there will be a lot more pressure on me this year.

"I do know now that I'm never out of a match, and I've learnt not to get too down on myself.

"I think back to when I was 200 or 300 in the world and I was having fun. Now I'm No.5 in the world - and I'm still having fun."

As the pressures and expectations build, so Blake relishes them.

"There are new pressures, new expectations, but for me that just means more opportunities - more fun," he says. "I love to face challenges. I'm stubborn. Any time I'm told I can't do something, I'll try to do it. I've been the same my whole life. I've wanted to challenge myself, whether academically [Blake studied at Harvard] or athletics, I always challenge myself to get better.

"When I'm thirtysomething, maybe the challenge will be just winning a match here and there. Maybe it is going back to college to get my degree."

Blake hints he's aiming to win his first grand slam title in 2007.

"I have the same goal that I had at the start of last year - to be a better player by the end of the year," he says.

"You can't control the way your opponents play, and you can't control the rankings, but you can control the way you practise, the effort you put in, your own game.

"It's was great to make the Masters Cup final in Shanghai last year and to beat Nadal more than just once [three times]. It wasn't just that I got him on a bad day. It wasn't a fluke.

"Right now it's Federer and just a whole group of guys, but things can change very quickly in tennis. There were times [Pete] Sampras was dominating like Federer does now, but it doesn't last forever.

"I can't quite think about winning the Australian Open yet but it's a different feeling going into a slam now than it was a few years ago.

"I used to hope for a good draw and think I could get to the second week; now I just need to worry about playing my tennis. If I'm playing well I don't see any reason I can't win a slam."

Blake is relishing being the top-ranked American.

"It's good to rub Andy [Roddick's] nose in it," he says with a smile.

"Seriously, Andy's a great player and we'll see who ends up on top at the end of the year. It'll probably go back and forth the whole year.

"I'm not going to worry about it, but I understand the American public wants to see us win grand slams - and even more so I'd love to bring home a Davis Cup trophy with Andy."

Blake, who was the defending champion at the Medibank International during the week, is one of the nice guys of sport.

Exhibit A: At the draw for the International he chatted happily with fans on topics ranging from tennis to Michael Jordan, signing balls and caps. He spoke respectfully about former champions such as Arthur Ashe, saying it was an honour to be listed among them.

Exhibit B: After an hour-long hit with Vince Spadea at the Homebush Bay Olympic complex, he pulled a pen from his bag and signed about 100 autographs and posed patiently for happy snaps with overawed fans.

"James is universally liked," says tennis broadcaster Craig Gabriel, who is also media manager for the Medibank International. "In many ways he's a throwback to the gentlemen players of the 1960s."

Blake sees it as his duty to make the fans happy - making him something of a rarity among his peers.

"I love the interaction with the fans, and it's something I missed when I was out in 2004," he says.

"I try to appreciate it as much as possible, because I know I'm not going to have fans my whole life.

"It takes me five seconds to sign an autograph and that makes some kid's day. It's not a difficult task - and it's flattering to know you can brighten up someone's day by smiling for a picture or signing an autograph."

Blake, only the third African American to play Davis Cup for his country, is keenly aware that he is now a role model.

"It is important that I stay normal," he says. "I love going home, meeting up with friends, talking about stuff other than tennis. Being with people who care about stuff other than who won somewhere that week on the tour. I love that normalcy and it helps me relate to other normal people."

Grinder
01-13-2007, 03:46 PM
Awesome job defending Sydney James, now beat Carlos again at the AO. :woohoo:

Looks like the Trophy Room will have to be expanded for tite number 9. ;)

cobalt60
01-13-2007, 03:53 PM
Great news :yeah: Wow though about the second set. Anyone watch it? Did he have a mental lapse or did Carlos just up the ante? Or both :lol:

cobalt60
01-13-2007, 04:50 PM
Thanks for posting the article btw:yeah: I really admire players who take the time and sign autographs for kids. And his reasoning is spot on.
Here are his quotes after his Sydney win off the ATP site:

Blake: "He wanted to win this, I wanted to win this, this is important to us.

"I sure would like to come back here... see if I can get it done three times, then tell my kids one day that I did better than Pete Sampras and Lleyton Hewitt at something."

On the enthusiastic crowd: "They were just cheering for Carlos, wanting the underdog, so I didn't take it personally. It was fun, they were having a great time, and that's what we're here for, we're entertainers. I'm glad to have fun, and honestly, those kind of things, those kind of moments when I'm standing there and we can't play because the crowd is still cheering, those are the moments that kind of give me goosebumps and make me so appreciative of what I do for a living. It makes me want to do this forever."

On his re-match with Moya in the first round of the Australian Open: "Yes, [six titles in 12 months has been a] very good little run here. I hope it doesn't end. I would love for it to continue into Melbourne. My best result so far in a Slam has been a quarterfinal. I've run into some pretty good competitors in those, Agassi and Federer, but still, I'm looking forward to the chance and hopefully I can break through and make it even further than that.

"Not the easiest of draws to start out with to play Carlos again. It's tough to go from a final to a first round. I wish that match was taking place in the second week instead of the first week, but hopefully I can learn from everything I did today, everything I did right, and hopefully I'll learn from everything I did wrong. But I just want to have another good match and hopefully I can improve on my results at the Australian Open."

Pammy
01-13-2007, 08:47 PM
:yeah:

I definitely think he has a shot to get to the final. He can beat Nadal if he holds it together mentally, and there aren't many other people there. He just has to keep his head and NOT do what he did at Wimbly. I'd love to see an all American final...:drool:

It would be a dream final if Andy and James can qualify for the final.

2moretogo
01-14-2007, 04:44 AM
It would be a dream final. Anyhoo, Congrats to James!!!

RogiFan88
01-14-2007, 05:04 AM
Congrats to James on defending his Sydney title!! Well done, he beat another Mallorcan to win it too! :lol:

RogiFan88
01-14-2007, 05:04 AM
...oh, and do it again at AO R1. ;)

MrJ
01-15-2007, 10:50 AM
Damn, James plays fourth on the Vodafone Arena and it wont start before 4 local time!! I will probably miss it as my coverage only shows the night session. :sad:

Jlee
01-16-2007, 06:17 AM
It would be a dream final if Andy and James can qualify for the final.

:drool:

That would be such a dream...I can't even imagine...

mishar
01-16-2007, 08:11 AM
For some reason, I'm up at 3 AM watching James' first round match! Yikes!

I've always supported James for more or less sentimental reasons, but I have to say, I'm so impressed by how well he plays nowadays. He's improved his backhand soooo much and his first serve also -- he's just become a great player.

His only flaw is his mental shakiness, still true and somewhat inexplicable. AFter playing such a great first set, he almost blew the tiebreaker with four horrible forehand errors. Luckily he survived and now he's up a break in the second set.

Jlee
01-16-2007, 09:29 AM
I stayed up too :lol:

Very solid work from James...besides the brain fart in the TB ;)

WTG!

mishar
01-16-2007, 09:43 AM
Hi Jlee! I stayed up and watched the whole thing -- my baby woke up and I had to feed him at 5-4 in the third set!

But a really good performance. I can't believe how much his serve, return, and backhand keep improving. I love how James improved his backhand. It used to be a huge weakness. But instead of just making it more consistent and defensive and running around it -- a la Moya for example -- instead he's really made it into a weapon. Very impressed! An opponent has to fear his backhand now, which would have seemed ludicrous in 2004 or before.

After a tricky first round, I can't imagine him losing in the next round and he seems to be in much better form than Ginepri, so he'll probably make the Round of 16. Hewitt or Gonzo would be tricky opponents there.

MrJ
01-16-2007, 10:11 AM
I managed to watch the whole match because of the heat delays on the outside courts. :D

I have to say that it was the best I have ever seen James play, his whole game is on moved up another level. I was most impressed how he kept sticking with his game plan throughout, well apart from the end of the tie break :o The days when he just tries to smash through his opponents seem to be long gone. If he continues to serve like this then there is no one in the bottom half of the draw who can live with him. But its a big "if" to serve like that match after match.

Keep up the good form James!! :worship: :wavey:

cobalt60
01-16-2007, 01:15 PM
:banana:

Grinder
01-16-2007, 02:33 PM
A straight set thrashing of Moya. :eek:

:woohoo:

MrJ
01-16-2007, 07:01 PM
J. BLAKE/C. Moya

7‑6, 6‑2, 6‑4

An interview with:

JAMES BLAKE

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Is twice enough?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah. I don't want to see him across the net. He's a great player. It's tough. I really wish that would have been a second‑week match because he's playing I think well enough to be in the second week and to be top 10 again like he's been. He's a great champion. He fights hard for every point, every match. He competed hard today.

Like I said, I wish it was a second‑week match. He's a great player. Definitely I think one of the toughest if not the toughest floater in the draw.

Q. How weird is that to play somebody again so soon?

JAMES BLAKE: It's pretty strange, yeah. I think that's part of the reason I was so excited at the end of the match. I know it's a tough situation. I know after he lost ‑‑ after I won in the Sydney finals, a lot of the pressure is off him. He can come in here and just feel like he can go after his shots a little more, be a little more aggressive, have really nothing to lose.

To have that feeling coming into a Grand Slam, in a first round, where that guy's got nothing to lose, a lot of guys, when they're playing me now, which is a good thing and bad thing, they feel they have nothing to lose, but not many of them were also No. 1 in the world. They have absolutely no fear of beating anyone in the world.

It was a tough situation. I knew going in it was going to be a different match mentally to not get past that, not get ahead of myself. That was something I was really happy about that. I didn't want to get up a set, think he was just going to crumble, think anything like that, ahead of myself. I did that. I'm really happy I was able to do that.

Q. Do you have a goal set for yourself this tournament?

JAMES BLAKE: No, I never set those kind of goals 'cause, uhm, like I said, Carlos has been No. 1 in the world. He could have come out, played lights‑out, blown me off the court. Luckily he didn't.

I don't set kind of goals that I don't feel like I can be in control of. I try to get better. I'm going to prepare for every single match as well as I can. The rest I'll do my best to execute it as well as I can, see what happens at the end. Hopefully I'll be here talking to you guys all the way at the end of the tournament.

If I don't, as long as I leave here with my head held high, saying I did my best. If that means losing in the second round but I did my best, if that means holding up a trophy in the end, saying I did my best, I'll be proud.

Q. Your best is a lot better than it was two years ago?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I think my best is a lot better than two years ago, and I think that's basically the validation that I've accomplished my goal. I guess my goals are always to keep getting better. That's something I feel like I can control. I have been getting better. I feel now as opposed to two years ago, I'm a better player. I would have beaten the heck out of James Blake two years ago. I'm happy about that (smiling).

Hopefully at the end of this tournament I'll be a better player and at the end of this year I'll be a better player. That's the only goal I kind of try to set.

Q. Last year you won Sydney, played well, lost to Robredo. How to a void that this year, not having a letdown in a match when you come up against good players the rest of the tournament?

JAMES BLAKE: I think I'm pretty I guess lucky now looking back on just a few hours ago, the fact that I got a great player in the first round, that I got through. I tested myself. Along with being a better player right now than I was two years ago, I'm better mentally. So hopefully from what happened last year, I can learn from that, learn that there's no way to ever take anyone lightly, there's no reason to ever get ahead of yourself or start thinking into the second week or anything like that. I'm thinking about my next match. If I come up against a great player, I'll show them that respect and do my best to hopefully play great tennis and come out on top.

There's still the chance I could come out flat one day. I hope it doesn't happen, but it's possible. I'm looking forward to showing I can go all the way through a Grand Slam without having a match like that. Maybe my best this year will be good enough to get me further than I've ever been. We'll see.

Q. Do you think you've improved your game because you played in Shanghai?

JAMES BLAKE: I think that helped and I think that really helped my confidence, to know that I can beat those top players, that it's not a fluke that I've been beating ‑‑ I've been able to get wins over Nadal, Davydenko. First time I played Nalbandian, to beat him felt great to do in an arena where you know they're all just as excited to be there, just as excited to win matches, fighting their hearts out to win each match.

To go in there, play that well, it was a great feeling, a great end to the year. Obviously came up one match short. But Roger played just a little too good. It gives me confidence to know that I got there, then I proved I belonged there. Even though I kind of snuck in in the eighth spot, I proved that I belong there, I felt like.

To end the year, that's such a great feeling 'cause oftentimes you end the year with a loss. I still did end the year with a loss, but I felt really good about that week. It gave me a pretty good high to go into the off‑season with, to feel like you've really earned that week or two you take off. You feel pretty good on the golf course after you ended the year that way.

Q. What suits your game or doesn't suit your game about Rebound Ace versus the DecoTurf at the US Open?

JAMES BLAKE: I think my second serve gets up a little higher. A lot of other guys' do, too. I feel like I'm pretty good about taking guys' second serves early. I try not to let it really eat me up, like let it get up too high on my backhand side or just kind of reacting to it too late. I feel like I take that a little bit out of other people's comfort zones and take time away from them.

I don't know, that might be it. Otherwise I generally play it pretty similar to the DecoTurf courts. I don't really adjust my game that much for the Rebound Ace except possibly the movement where I have to be much more careful with the sliding because I know this stuff is notorious for foot and ankle injuries. I'm trying to be careful to make sure nothing like that happens.

Q. You had to be pretty happy when you saw the draw that Federer wasn't on your side?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, I have to admit, that was one thing I looked at, to see if I was on that top half or bottom half. Definitely wasn't too happy to see Moya right there.

The way he's playing these days, it is just a daunting task when you see him in your part of the draw. I don't want to get that far ahead of myself to start thinking about if he's in my quarter or section. But when Ljubicic passed me to make me a 5 seed instead of a 4 seed, that was the first thing I thought of, was, All right, now I can be in my quarter, hope for a little bit of luck.

I got to worry about these other guys, not just Roger. Andy helped us a little maybe to prove that he's human last week, even if it is an exhibition. Andy got so close in Shanghai. Now to maybe post a win is maybe a little bit of a spirit booster for the guys in the locker room, to know that it's possible.

I think Andy's playing great tennis right now. I'm pretty happy he's not on my side either the way he's playing. I got to just worry about the guys that are on my side. The next one is Luczak or Kuznetsov. Those are the ones I have to be concerned with.

Q. Talking about Kuznetsov, these young guys, Americans have been making some noise here in the first round. What do you make of that?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, it's great to see some guys getting through quallies. Kuznetsov is a good friend of mine, trained with me at Saddle Brook a few times. I was shocked, first time I hit with him, he was about 15 years old, he was just actually beating up on me and Mardy in baseline games. I was just wondering who the heck this kid is. He was playing great.

Since then he dealt with a terrible accident, has come back so strong, when he broke his leg in a car accident. Now he's playing great tennis again. That's a testament to how hard he worked, how hard he did his rehab. So I think his level of improvement is going very quickly, which is great to see. He's a hard worker, a really nice kid. Of course, all that will go out the window if I play him in the second round, I won't think of him as a nice kid for those few hours.

Mike Russell, another real good friend of mine, such a hard worker, dealt with a million injuries. I don't get that excited to watch too many tennis matches, but I'm excited to watch him play Lleyton Hewitt tonight. They play very similar. Mike has been playing unbelievable lately. I've hit with him a few times when he's playing that well. I think it's going to be a fun match to watch. I'm excited. Hope the nerves don't get to him or anything. He's another player that can be dangerous here ‑ anywhere else throughout this year if he stays healthy.

Q. What is your take on Sam?

JAMES BLAKE: Sam had another big win yesterday. He's a great player. Yeah, didn't even mention him. He's probably our brightest star right now in terms of coming up. His serve is huge. His forehand is huge. It's amazing. The kid cracks me up every single time when I look at him. He was going out to the court yesterday, had a huge hole in his shoe. Sam, change that. Got new shoes in the locker room. Oh, no, it's fine, it will be okay. I'll change my serve a little. Sam, come on.

It's so funny. He's oblivious, just happy to go out there and play. I think as he gets better and better, kind of becomes a little more professional, maybe he shouldn't, I don't know, because it's working great so far, but it's so funny to see he's basically like ‑‑ I mean, it shocks me sometimes to think he's just out of high school, to think how immature I was at that age. He's much more advanced than I was. But how much better he's going to get.

Q. He had a hole in the sole of his shoe?

JAMES BLAKE: No, like in the top. The top had kind of split open. From the back end, he comes over on it too much. His toe was practically popping out. Man, it's so funny to think he's only 18 years old, 19 years old, how much better he's going to get.

I'm looking forward to that, too, to see how much better he's going to get. I think the sky's the limit with him.

cobalt60
01-17-2007, 12:05 AM
I just saw a replay but only the last set :yeah: Awesome when he tees off.
And again what a nice guy. At the end he goes up to Moya and says: ( At least what I could read) "Thanks very much, I appreciate"..... and then the coverage cut off. Anyone know?

Grinder
01-17-2007, 08:48 PM
James plays Alex Kuznetsov next round, I used to hit with Alex all the time back when he used to train in PA. He's a talented 19 year old, but if James does his thang, he should rout him.

Grinder
01-18-2007, 03:03 AM
James took out Kuznetsov 6-4 6-1 6-2, he was down 0-3* in the first set thanks to some unbelievable winners by Kuz, but he came through in 81 minutes. :yeah:

Ginepri or Zverev up next.

mishar
01-18-2007, 03:24 AM
Good job James! Nice not to get flustered by Alex's fast start.

He swept 18 of the last 22 games.

James is playing some of the best tennis of his life -- hope there's no letdown!

cobalt60
01-18-2007, 12:47 PM
Fun match to watch. Go james:banana:

MrJ
01-18-2007, 01:28 PM
I didn´t see the match but from stats he looks impressive again. :)

Next up Ginepri. They are tied at 3 all. Im a little nervous about this since Robby must know James´game very well. If it becomes a close match I hope James can respond to the challenge.

Does anyone know how good Robby is playing right now? I know he had a terrible 06. :wavey:

KrisJB
01-18-2007, 06:39 PM
Goodwoman noticed the following:
I only have one small concern: in between points, he seemed to be loosening up his right shoulder like it was bothering him a little. You couldn't tell while he was playing, so hopefully it's nothing. Did anyone else notice this?

Is it true?

cobalt60
01-18-2007, 07:15 PM
I watched almost the whole match and did not see that:shrug: sorry.

MrJ
01-18-2007, 07:35 PM
An injury now couldn´t come at a worse time, he is just starting to really believe he can win these big tournaments and is playing as well as anybody. :( I hope its nothing :scared:

goodwoman
01-18-2007, 07:51 PM
He's probably not injured. It was just something I thought I noticed. I'm going to assume it's nothing. He's playing great tennis, and there's every reason to believe that he will continue. Keep it going, James!

jeahhh!
01-18-2007, 08:20 PM
I saw the whole match and didnt see it of course I was studying as I watched so that could be why:rolleyes: But he played a really goodmatch:)

MrJ
01-18-2007, 09:01 PM
J. BLAKE/A. Kuznetsov

6‑4, 6‑1, 6‑2

An interview with:

JAMES BLAKE

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you sum up your game today?

JAMES BLAKE: It was good. A little bit of a slow start, but Alex played well at the beginning and me just a little bit of a slow start. But after that, not panicking. Happy about that. And just going about my business and trying to get back one point at a time. And before I knew it I was back in the set and had a set point and took advantage. So I was real pleased with that.

And then really kept rolling. Everything for me was pretty solid. I got a little lucky with that lefty shot and then I was kind of rolling.

Q. Yesterday Serena Williams was at 4‑love the second set, lost the next two games, which seemed strange, and she said she was daydreaming. Did you start the day daydreaming perhaps?

JAMES BLAKE: No. Alex played great. He was cracking returns. I wasn't making first serves. And he served well most of the day, just kind of in spots. And at the beginning it was coming in. And I've got to respect a lot of the guys out on Tour. I don't know exactly what he's ranked but I know how dangerous he can be. I've practiced with him a lot of times. I think maybe at that point he started realizing what he was doing, what court he was on and kind of the arena that he was in.

That's something I hopefully have going for me now, is a little bit of experience, and to ride that storm that Alex was kind of bringing to me.

Q. What's it like facing somebody who you're so familiar with?

JAMES BLAKE: Well, it's a little tricky because if you face a real young guy, being a No. 5 seed in a Grand Slam, you like to think that they might be a little nervous or tight. But I know Alex, he's practiced with me tons of times at Saddle Brook. It's not like him playing somebody he doesn't know or doesn't know the pace. He knows the pace, he knows how well I can move, he knows kind of the things I can do.

It's almost a little frustrating. I probably don't get that kind of respect or anything like that because he knows he can beat me. He can beat me on a given day, and he proved that first few games how well he can play.

It's something where I know I have to respect him, too, and not go out there expecting anything for free. I got a few free points, but I think that's just for him going to be a positive in the future, the fact that he was just going for his shots and praying aggressive tennis. For me to see that in a young player is a really good thing. As long as they keep their head on straight and keep going for their shots, I think he's got a good future.

Q. A lot of guys come on Tour and have a really quick impact and jump up the rankings really quickly, and you've probably done more of an apprenticeship. Was there a time when you thought, Is my time going to come, am I going to be able to make the next jump?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, definitely. I think probably the point Alex is at right now, he's done it a lot quicker than me. I was probably 22 or 23 years old going through what he's going through at 19. But yeah, you get stalled at 150 or 200 in the world and you don't know ‑‑ you're losing a lot more matches than you're winning at that point. And that's a pretty frustrating situation for somebody that's used to winning a lot.

All of us that are out here pretty much got used to winning at some point, whether it's in the juniors, whether it's in college or at the futures level, or anything you start getting used to winning, and when you start losing you can't figure it out and can't get over that hurdle. It's a tough situation for me.

There were definitely times when I thought I don't know if I can take this. If this is going to be my career, am I going to be handle losing more than winning? Dealing with the losses, the 6 in the third and 4 in the third, and taking a positive out of it. At 21 and 22 years old I don't know if I was mature enough and equipped to deal with that and move forward, and it took maybe a little bit of growing up to do that.

I'm impressed with a lot of these kids that can do that at 19 and 20 years old. I wish them all the best, but it is something that can be frustrating at times, and for me it took a little longer. So everyone out here is an individual. We play an individual sport and there's so many different routes you can go to success. I don't regret any part of my route.

Q. Do you feel used to winning now?

JAMES BLAKE: I'm trying to get used to it. It's something that they say is a habit. Trying to get into the habit of doing it. I've had some pretty good success so far this year, at the end of last year. So I definitely enjoy that habit a lot more.

Q. You're one of the few players with a good record against Nadal. Would you explain your recipe? What does your game have?

JAMES BLAKE: It's tough to say because I've played him always on hard courts, which is to my benefit, I think. And I've played aggressive tennis, and it's been effective. I've played some of my best matches against him, at Indian Wells I played great, at the US Open. Maybe he didn't know what to expect at the US Open because he hadn't seen me and I was still a wild card and I don't know if he took me lightly or whatever. But to do it again at Indian Wells and Shanghai, I was going for my shots. He's got a huge forehand and get it up high to my backhand, but I try to take that early and take that shot of his away from him. Otherwise I go for my forehand when I get the opportunity.

He's a guy that gets a ton of balls on the court. But I try to make it so that when I get control of the point, I don't let it go. I don't let him get back on offense because he's so dangerous that way. He can turn defense into offense, but I try not to let him do that. So far it's been effective.

It's really tough to say because it's been a matter of me playing against tennis against him. He's tough to volley against. He hits so much spin and he passes so well off the forehand that it's hard to do that consistently. You have to mix it up against him. You can't give him the same look all the time. I wouldn't say it's something I do any more than usual against a guy like him.

Q. Can you talk about the potential match‑up against Robby?

JAMES BLAKE: Could be interesting. We've been practicing together here, practiced together last week in Sydney. I'm really to be honest excited for him for this year because he had a little bit of a down year last year, and maybe dealing with pressures and expectations, I don't know exactly what it was. But this year I think he knows going in that he's so excited about it because he's going to ‑‑ I have a feeling he's going to do a lot better because he doesn't have the same expectations, the same pressures, and even when he does get those he'll be better equipped to deal with it. He's still got the talent. For six months he played like he was top five in the world, and I think he still has that talent. It's just a matter of getting the confidence back. And that happen as quickly as one week. For me it took doing really well in Washington, D.C., to go to the Pilot Pen and US Open. And for him it can easily click in in one week.

So I know to be fearful and very respectful of a matchup with him because he's ranked 40 or 50 now but I know he has that talent in him to be a top ten players. So I'm a little nervous but it's also fun because I'm wishing him the best for this whole year and I'm looking forward to seeing him have a lot of success. I hope it comes after this tournament because I hope I can still beat him.

But either way, I'm going to be happy for him towards the end of this year I think when he has a very successful year.

Q. He gave you some tips against Almagro. Are you going to give him some tips on how to play you?

JAMES BLAKE: If I do, they'll be lies. I'll tell him to hit it high and short to my forehand. We're professionals so we've played each other before. Played each other last year at Queen's. We could still easily go have dinner the night before and not talk about tennis once, and go out and kick each other's butts for four hours out there and be friends right after the match. Maybe not right after. You've got to take about an hour to cool down, and then we'll be right back to being friends. That's not an issue. We're professionals, we've done this before, and our friendship is definitely stronger than one match.

I assume he's not worried about it. I don't want to put words in his mouth. But I'm not worried about anything like that. We'll still be friends and we'll still give 100 percent on the course.

Q. (Question regarding a bet in Sydney.)

JAMES BLAKE: No, no, that was a bet we did last year and he didn't do it this year. We had another bet that you might notice about my box this year that they lost the bet from me in Shanghai. So they're doing something for this week. But it's something to keep us having fun out there.

Q. What do you think about the first chapter of your career? Was up and down, and now you're sort of level at this point, and been able to sustain it for a long period of time. Does that surprise you that you've been able to sustain that level and what's the secret to that?

JAMES BLAKE: It's tough to say I'm surprised because now I'm pretty good at not being surprised by anything because I know anything can happen. I can keep rising in the rankings. I could dip real low. I could get injured. I could just kind of stagnate. I could stay in the top ten. I have no idea what's going to happen.

But I know I've continued working hard, so I'm not surprised by the fact that I continue to get better. It's just a matter of competing consistently on the Tour and being at the top of my game. It seems like in finals, in big matches, in semis, and now it's a matter of taking it to the Grand Slam.

Hopefully I can have some success here, but if not I know I'll have confidence going into the French Open and Wimbledon and the US Open, that I can be there the second week and hopefully late into the second week. I just hope it starts here.

I don't want to say I've been surprised because so many things have happened to me in the first chapter of my career, and I don't know how many chapters there are, but I'm not going to be surprised by anything anymore I don't think.

Q. There's been some differing views on Hawk‑Eye. You didn't seem to muck around at all with the chair; you just pointed to the screen when you wanted to challenge. What are your thoughts on it?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, it seems to be pretty simple. You don't need to argue with the chair umpire, go into any sort of histrionics, whatever. Just go about your business. If you think they missed the call, you have the Hawk‑Eye there to prove you right or prove you wrong. Unfortunately I was wrong the one time I tried it. But I'll take being 0 for 1 in challenges and 1 and 0 in the match any time.

It's something that's great. It humbles the players sometimes. It humbles the officials sometimes. And I think it's great because we're probably both too arrogant at times. The players always think they're right and the umpires always think they're right, and it shows that neither of us are always right.

I think it's a good system. It doesn't take any time away, really. It's just like playing on clay. It gives us that kind of secure feeling. We know we're not getting the short end of the stick three or four times in a row or anything like that, so it maybe keeps guys in the match a little bit better mentally.

For me that's something I've always worked on, trying not to get too excited about it anyway, even when I'm not on a Hawk‑Eye court, to try to just let it go and let that one point go if you think you got a bad call, maybe make your point to the umpire and move on. And here it's so easy to do that now. You just make a challenge and move on.

So I think it's been great. As long as the fans like it, I say we keep it.

Q. You'd prefer to play on a Hawk‑Eye court then?

JAMES BLAKE: It doesn't make much of a difference to me because, like I said, I try not to worry too much about it. If I get a bad call, if a bad call goes my way, whatever. It's amazing how few have been changed because of Hawk‑Eye. But it's also incredible how many times it's been on very big points.

So it could change a match, but I like to try to think maybe it's just for my own security that it all evens out, and just to tell myself that so I can get through the match. But it doesn't make much difference to me.

Q. Your forehand is probably one of the fastest on Tour. What do you think of Monfils'?

JAMES BLAKE: He's got a big forehand. I saw that one he cracked at about 190 kilometers an hour last night. That's impressive. When he's got time to set up and hit that, it's lethal.

It's something that's big. And it's incredible how young he is to be that talented and that much potential and a great future ahead of him. And that future for him already is right now. He's beating guys like Baghdatis in Grand Slams, got a win over me on clay, and Andy Murray.

But that forehand is huge. I never claimed mine was the best on Tour. I generally like hitting it, but it looks like he likes hitting his a lot, too.

Q. Your backhand improvement, has that made the difference do you think overall?

JAMES BLAKE: It's made a big difference. Hopefully a lot of things have improved, but my backhand improving has taken away a weakness. When I was on Tour at 21, 22, 23 years old, my backhand was a weakness. Guys could attack it. I don't think they needed to scout me for too long before they realized hit it and come into his backhand and he's going to have trouble. I don't think they can do that anymore.

I also think I'm able to defend better on the backhand and the forehand. That's made a big difference. Mentally I feel like I'm much stronger. There have been a few things. Definitely improving my backhand has been a big part, and it gives me confidence to know that I don't have that kind of a glaring weakness.

Q. You've always been I guess considered a bit of a spokesman and had your role with the Players' Council and that sort of stuff. Does that responsibility or role fit a little bit more comfortably now that you're sort of a top five player?

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, it is a good feeling to know for one that I'm on the player council, that guys respect me enough to vote me on that. But also I hope that they respect me for my game, for the way I play on the court and also the way I conduct myself, which is most important. That's the way my parents brought me up is that a lot of times the first question is how did you act on the court, you make sure you act appropriately, and then the rest of it is just a game.

But you do your best, you compete hard, but you also try to do it with respect for others and the fans and your opponent.

So it is nice to know that people have that kind of respect for me, I hope. And on the player council I try to make a difference in a positive way for the Tour. Hopefully I can do that, but if not, then in about a year they'll vote me off and somebody else will be on.

It's nice to have that responsibility and feel like you're a part of the Tour more than just some guy hitting the ball around.

Q. What's your thought on moving Davis Cup to the week after Wimbledon and the US Open?

JAMES BLAKE: I'm all for it. The weeks right after Grand Slams are where I want Davis Cup to be. It's where the top ten ‑‑ I think at least 19 out of the top 20 players on Tour want it to be. And I really ‑‑ it baffles me to think that it still might not get changed.

We all agree that we want it there. It makes it better for our schedules. And I would love to see it there. But I guess we've got a few guys in suits that don't want it that way. So we'll see if we can convince them.

Q. Alex talked about you being a role model for him and other players. At your ancient age, how does that feel?

JAMES BLAKE: Man, until you said "ancient age," I felt pretty good about that one (laughter).

Yeah, it's something I was lucky enough to have guys that I looked up to when I started, Todd Martin, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Alex O'Brien, guys that were just very helpful to me at the beginning of my career. At that age I never thought I'd be the one giving out advice, but now here I am.

I don't feel ancient, but I guess in tennis years maybe I am. But I definitely feel like I've got more experience than these young guys, and anything I can do to help, when they are good kids like Alex is, Amer Delic is, Bob Reynolds, Sam Querrey. When I can help out, whether it's hitting with them, whether it's taking them out to a meal and trying to teach them about being a little bit more professional on Tour, anything, it's my pleasure. That's a role that I take seriously when you say a 'role model' because I'm really proud to think that people could look up to me.

As much as you say I'm ancient, I still feel young. And to have people looking up to you at 27 years old is a feeling a lot of kids at my age don't have. I'm really proud of that.

I try to do my best. I try to make sure I'm not the stereotypical athlete that's found in the police blotter or anything, but I'm one that people can hopefully have a positive story about. I'm doing my best. And these kids have a lot of potential to do the same, and hopefully even better because they've got a lot of talent, so I'm really looking forward to watching their careers. I hope I can keep beating them, but once I stop, once my body starts giving out or their talent starts taking over even more, then I'll be proud to watch them carry the flag for us.

:worship: :)

cobalt60
01-18-2007, 09:09 PM
Everytime I read something from this guy,the more I like him:) He is a class act. Plain and simple.

jeahhh!
01-18-2007, 10:36 PM
Everytime I read something from this guy,the more I like him:) He is a class act. Plain and simple.
Touche:yeah:

2moretogo
01-19-2007, 08:33 PM
James is working his way nicely though the tournament, but its got to suck to have to play your mates match after match. Oh well, good luck to James tonight!

MrJ
01-20-2007, 11:41 AM
James wins in straight sets 7-6 7-5 6-2.

He was really struggling with his game, but I was very impressed the way he didn´t get down on himself and grinded out the win. He would have lost this match earlier in his career. Hopefully this is his last bad match in the tournament.

Looks like he may play Gonzales who is currently beating up on Hewitt (2-0). I fancy his chances since Gonzales is so inconsistent.

MrJ
01-20-2007, 12:27 PM
J. BLAKE/R. Ginepri

7‑6, 7‑5, 6‑2

An interview with:

JAMES BLAKE

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. It was very tight early. What is your assessment of the game?

JAMES BLAKE: As you said, it was very tight. You know, that's a match that without confidence there's no way I could win. Going for my shots on set points, it shows just how close tennis is, how quickly it can change, how close all the guys are on tour. 'Cause if you change literally two points in that whole match, it's a completely different match. If he wins the set points in the first set, four set points in the second, any one of those goes a different way, that's a whole new match.

I'm lucky to get through it. I thought I played well on those set points. I played smart. After that I felt like I got my confidence and really got rolling. That's what happens. When you're playing confident, you never think you're going to lose those points. That's the way I felt.

It was a good feeling at the end of the match to know that I got through a match where easily it could have been the other way.

Q. Is it tough to play a guy that you know so well and you're friends with?

JAMES BLAKE: It's a little tough. He's one of my best friends on tour. I wish him all the best. I told him after the match I really think this is going to be a big year for him. Looking forward to great things.

Hopefully we won't have to play each other in the early stage of tournaments. Looking forward to getting him to being seeded in these Slams, being a real force to be reckoned with like he was a couple years ago.

It's tough because I want the best for him, but obviously I've got to go out there and do my job. I want to win when I'm playing. No matter who I'm up against, it's tough. But we're professionals. We go out there and we do that. We do our job.

If because of this I've got to buy him dinner or a couple of beers tomorrow night or something, so be it. But that's just the way it is. I know there will be times throughout our career where he'll get the better of me and I'll hit him up for a dinner the next night or something.

We're good friends off the court. Once it comes to playing, as you could see, we're fighting our hearts out.

Q. Either way, González or Hewitt, two guys that have given you some problems. Talk about both of them.

JAMES BLAKE: Yeah, both great players. That's probably why they've given me problems.

Lleyton has proven that he can fight hard no matter how little match practice he has, coming back on Mike Russell. He's obviously going to have the crowd with him. That's going to be a tough match‑up no matter what.

I finally got a little bit off the schneid by beating him last year in Las Vegas. That was a great feeling. He got me back on the grass. Interesting to play him on the Rebound Ace again and see who's playing better right now.

Definitely not an easy match‑up in Australia. But the way I'm playing, I feel good. Hopefully I can control more of the points against him. He has a way of sneaking out of a lot of those, so it would be tough.

Fernando, a totally different player. He's going to attack me and take huge rips with the forehand. We'll definitely have a few battles going forehand to forehand, trying to find each other's backhands.

He's given me problems last few times, but I've had some success against him earlier in his career. Hopefully I can draw on that and get back to the winning ways against him. He's playing pretty confident right now as well.

Q. Where do you rank his forehand against ones you've faced?

JAMES BLAKE: It's up there as one of the best. I really have always had a great admiration of Carlos Moya's. I think his is one of the best. I think Roger's obviously is incredible. But Fernando's got to be pretty close to being next up there. Monfils is showing some flashes of brilliance with his, how hard he can hit it.

But I think to take it day in and day out, Fernando's, just from being on tour longer, being on tour longer and more experience, he's proven that his forehand is one of the best in the world, more so than Gaël.

But you never know in a few years. It's up there in the top three or four I think.

Q. What was it like playing with the roof closed? Seems a little chilly in there.

JAMES BLAKE: I grew up in New England. I loved it. I've played an indoor tournament so far. I think it's been beneficial for me so far. It could be a detriment, I know, as it comes time to my first match outdoors, whenever that is, if it's Monday.

Hopefully I keep going through. If I play indoors again, Wednesday, whenever it is, just not having that experience where I've been outdoors yet. I had to go for a run the other day just to be out in the sun and feel like I've worked in the heat 'cause before I came down here, I was practicing indoors in Connecticut.

That was part of the reason to play Sydney. That's part of the reason I was so happy I did so well in Sydney. I got four matches in the sun, feeling really good in the heat. Then I come down here and I play three matches indoors. It's tough to have that experience.

Maybe I feel like I'm an indoor player again. But I got to ‑‑ I know I'm going to have to play outdoors here some time. I hope I'll be able to adjust quickly. But playing indoors today felt great. I love it. I grew up practicing and training indoors. It's pretty comfortable for me.

Q. Would you say looking back at your career to this point in Slams, has there been any point ‑ aside from the very early times when you had some cramping issues ‑ when the fatigue factor has come into play for the second week for you?

JAMES BLAKE: I definitely had a cramping issue a couple years ago in the French Open against Wawrinka. That was possibly due to playing an indoor in Tunica, five matches, straight to Forest Hills, five matches on clay, and then flying across the Atlantic to get three matches in quallies, then a first round match, and then the first day that was hot was the day I played Wawrinka. It was very hot in five sets. I had a cramping issue.

I feel very good about the fact I've done everything I can now to try to stop those problems and hiring Mark Merklein as my trainer. He's been doing great things in terms of making sure my diet is right, making sure I'm warmed up right, and I have things to eat and keep me hopefully ‑‑ balance all my vitamins out on the court.

I hope he solved the problem, because it has been a problem in the past dealing with the heat and with going five sets or whatever. I don't know what it is 'cause I feel like I'm in great shape and I never cramp from being tired, I cramp from ‑‑ I really just don't know what it is, whether it's a lack of a certain nutrient or what.

But I hope whatever Mark has done has fixed it. I got full confidence in him, so we'll put it to the test I'm sure in my first outdoor match here.

Q. What did you have to say to Robby right at the net?

JAMES BLAKE: He said to me, Let's get a Grand Slam. That means a lot to me that he really thinks of us as a team. If he had won, I probably would have said the same thing, that we want to bring a Slam home to the States. Roger has been hoarding them all in Switzerland. We'd like to get one back in the States.

Then I just said, You're right there, too. You got the game. You know you have it. Just feeling good about it, feeling confident. 'Cause a lot of times that's the difference, a set point here, a set point there, a breakpoint here, a breakpoint there, feeling confident to go for your shots on those. When you feel confident, it seems like they go in a lot more.

He's got that game. He played top five tennis for six months. That didn't go anywhere. It's just a matter of him feeling confident again. Feeling like he can play that. I think he's right on the edge. I think he's right there.

I wish him the best. Coming up we got indoor hard courts in the States, then Indian Wells and Miami. I look for him to do some damage.

Q. What is your memory of that Lleyton match here?

JAMES BLAKE: Lleyton match here?

Q. Yes.

JAMES BLAKE: Man.

Q. Wasn't pleasant?

JAMES BLAKE: It wasn't. For me it was a great feeling because I had just come back from so many down times, just to be out on the court was a great feeling. To have some pressure moments, I won the first set, just barely remember that. The second set, I had a set point.

Completely just dumped it back in into the middle of net. I remember that. Just the feeling of having the crowd into it, excited. I think I saved a set point with a big backhand after that. Just to get that feeling out on the court was great for me.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't healthy at that point. My zoster was still affecting me. The next week I still didn't feel good. Then I had my ups and downs for another two or three months where I really wasn't sure I was healthy. When I got to San Jose, I remember practicing indoors, not being able to see very well because it was still affecting my vision.

For me it was just so great to be out there and feeling good, the feeling of the crowd, knowing that I could still hopefully do this for a living. It was tough to lose to Lleyton, but at least I lost to a great player in his home country when he was playing well. I remember not having so much fun in the third set when he beat me 6‑0.

I was literally at that point happy to be here. I know a lot of people say that's a terrible attitude. You never want to just be happy to be somewhere, you want to win it. That's the way I feel now. But at that point I was just happy to be healthy, happy to be playing. So I have that memory.

Of course, I wish I could have won. But I'm realistic in knowing had I won, I probably would have lost the next round because I wasn't fully healthy at that point. If I had, it would have been great for me at that point, but I don't think it would have made much difference in my career.

It was a matter of waiting till I got healthy, having that patience, dealing with everything else that was going on in my life. Now the most important thing for me is winning matches. I feel confident about it. I hope it will be a different result if I do play him this time. You never know. Like I said, he's a great player.

Q. Did you say you're going to go out with Robby for dinner?

JAMES BLAKE: Probably not tonight. I think room service is my plan for tonight. It's getting late. If he's still around tomorrow I'll give him a call, and hopefully I can treat him to dinner.

I think he's been having good luck so far at the casino. Hopefully that will rub off on me, and maybe we'll go put down a few bets and have some fun.

Q. What do you play?

JAMES BLAKE: I've been playing some baccarat and a little blackjack. I love baccarat a lot. It hasn't been treating me well this year. Most years I've done well here. I need to change the luck a little.

Q. Are you playing Davis Cup against Czech Republic?

JAMES BLAKE: As long as Patrick McEnroe wants me on the team, I'll be there. I hope he wants me. I feel like I've been playing pretty well. This team has come together great with Andy, myself, the Bryans. I'm looking forward to it, yeah. It's going to be a quick change going from Rebound Ace to hard to clay. It's probably going to be the same for them.

We're looking forward to winning a clay away tie, which has been a bit of our kryptonite in years past. But I'm looking forward to it. The guys are a great group of guys. It's a long trip, but we're going to get over there as early as we can, be prepared. Just having two guys, myself and Andy, playing so confidently right now, I like our chances. The Bryans for us put so much confidence in us that they're going to get that doubles point.

I like our chances. I just really love ‑‑ that's another thing I've missed when I was hurt and sick, is being a part of that team. I just love it. As long as I'm available and healthy, Patrick McEnroe wants me on the team, I'll be there.

Q. Do you feel like U.S. team is heavy favorite?

JAMES BLAKE: I wouldn't say a heavy favorite. Anything can happen in Davis Cup. There aren't many heavy favorites ever in Davis Cup, especially away. The crowds can get to you. The surface can be tricky. Anything can happen. When you have a player as talented as Tomas Berdych, it's not we're a heavy favorite.

Like I said, I really like our chances, with how much our team has come together, how much we enjoy being around each other. I've always felt those are the types of team that overachieve. Just the fact that we really care about how each other's doing. If I'm in my room, if Andy's playing, that's the only thing on my TV. I'm watching him, hoping he's doing well, living and dying on his points. I really think he's doing the same. The Bryans are the first ones ‑‑ when I get back to my hotel room, I have a feeling I'll have a message from them saying, Good job tonight. When I see them playing, it's the same thing.

We all care about each other. It's hopefully a team that's going to overachieve. I'd like to think we're a favorite to win it. It's tough to say that with an away tie.

Q. Have you ever been to Czech Republic?

JAMES BLAKE: I've never been to Czech Republic. I've heard Prague is beautiful. Haven't heard too much about Ostrava. We'll see. I hear we're playing in a hockey rink, 3,000 people.

Q. 6,000.

JAMES BLAKE: Great, even better. Hopefully they'll fill it and we'll have some fun. I'll learn something about the Czech Republic. It's for me another perk of the job, getting to see new places, learn new cultures, hopefully win a few matches.

Grinder
01-20-2007, 04:14 PM
It's good to see James wasn't playing his best and still scrapped through a straight set win over a tough player like Ginepri.

Now step it up and rip Gonzo James! :yeah:

cobalt60
01-20-2007, 10:59 PM
Alright James! Watched the match on tape. Although he had some uncharacteristic errors this match for this tournie he upped the ante when he needed. And if he doesn't have luck in the casinos but does on court, I will take that anyday;)

Agassi Fan
01-21-2007, 06:02 PM
Good luck James!

tangerine_dream
01-22-2007, 05:04 PM
The Gonzo loss was so bad nobody can comment on it? :sad:

Matt Cronin's thoughts, which I agree with for the most part:

Blake battered at Slam again
By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net

FROM THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN – After Fernando Gonzalez had his way with him in a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(4) victory in the fourth round, James Blake didn’t fall into his usual "I lost to a great player" routine. He frankly admitted disappointment.

Maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered for America’s No. 2 player.|

Someone has to kick him in the butt, whether it’s his coach, Brian Barker, his brother, Thomas, his mother, Betty, or maybe he should just kick his own rear end.

Blake is a far better player than he showed in the loss and, although Gonzo performed very well again and completely deserved the victory, Blake should have found a way to win a set, any set, and make the Chilean sweat.

But he didn’t. As the foundation of his mental stability – his serve – failed him once again and with it went the rest of his game. He volleyed poorly, his backhand was shaky and he didn’t compete well enough. His huge forehand became largely irrelevant.

The seventh-ranked 27-year-old exited another Slam without reaching the semifinals, even though he came into this tournament as one of the four favorites. Roger Federer is still around, as is Andy Roddick and as of early Monday evening, prior to his match against Andy Murray, so was Rafael Nadal. But not Blake, who despite all of his obvious progress over the past 14 months, is still a mediocre player at the Slams. Give him a round of a applause for his six titles in the past 13 months, but sit on your hands thinking of his one quarterfinal in the five Slams since then.

At this point, which as much talent as he has on hard courts (he’s still out of his element on clay and on grass), it has to be mental.

“Obviously there's still the sentiment of disappointment, a little frustration in losing a close match like that,” Blake said, adding that he needed to get better at “everything. … I'm frustrated about the volleys I missed when I had opportunities. Especially my serve. My serve I felt like let me down today. I'd love to hit a bucket of those, but we'll do that in a few days.”

Blake said that Barker will keep him positive during his long trip home and his Connecticut-based coach has done an excellent job of doing that over his career. But he got out-coached by his fellow American, Larry Stefanki, on Monday, as Stefanki had Gonzo mixing up his shot selection and never giving Blake too many of the same looks, except with his forehand, which is almost impossible to look at as it cannons by you, anyway.

“I always put a lot of pressure on myself I've gotten better about that as I've gotten a little older, more mature about not feeling like every single match is the end of the world,” Blake said. “I hope my career won't ever be based on one single match 'cause that would hopefully mean I had a good career, that not one match is going to change that. I hope today's doesn't completely change the outlook of my career 'cause that wouldn't be such a good thing. I try not to put as much pressure on myself as I used to. I definitely am always my harshest critic. If it wasn't for my coach, I'd probably be out hitting already right now, getting back in it.”

That’s the only choice he has, but maybe bringing in a sport psychologist might help. Watch a replay of that third-set tiebreak if you think that’s a stretch. He did a terrific job of clawing his way back in to even get there, but then checked out. And now the 27-year-old is out of the draw, too. US Davis Cup captain Pat McEnroe is going to have a heck of challenge turning Blake around mentally for the first round tie in Ostrava in two weeks time. It doesn’t matter who the Czechs play as the No. 2 guy, because when Blake is down in the dumps, he can play far worse than his ranking.

Caren
01-22-2007, 06:11 PM
I really thought this would be James' tournament :retard:

mrserenawilliams
01-23-2007, 04:53 PM
me 2 :sad:

tangerine_dream
01-23-2007, 06:48 PM
I agree with this: Blake talks the talk, he says he feels confident, he says he feels that he "belongs with those other guys in the top five" but he still doesn't truly believe it. Maybe he needs somebody like Jimmy Connors to instill that self-belief in him.

Blake lacking self-belief
Top-ranked American still coming up short at the majors
COMMENTARY
By Bud Collins
Jan 22, 2007

MELBOURNE, Australia - There’s no doubt that James Blake’s fourth-round Australian Open defeat at the talented hands of Fernando Gonzalez was a huge disappointment not only for Blake but for American tennis as well.

The fifth-seeded Blake fell in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6.

Still a minor threat in majors

Expectations were high after Blake won a tournament in Sydney in early January, and he played well in his first three matches in Melbourne, defeating Carlos Moya and Americans Alex Kuznetsov and Robby Ginepri.

But against the 10th-seeded Gonzalez, Blake looked lethargic to me and he seemed to lack the self-belief that you need to get through the latter stages of a major.

Blake was a finalist at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai at the end of last year (losing to Roger Federer in the final), and he is a top-five player, but he certainly didn’t look like one against Gonzalez.

How is anyone else supposed to believe in Blake if he cannot believe in himself?

Blake had a lead in all three sets, and he let numerous chances slip through his fingers, and that simply isn’t good enough at this level.

Blake may have proved himself at ATP Tour events like Sydney and his run in Shanghai was impressive, but he has failed to impress at the majors.

Two quarterfinals at the U.S. Open (2005 and 2006) is not a lot to show for a player so highly ranked and, as fifth seed in Melbourne, the quarterfinals should have been only the start of his ambitions. Instead, he didn't even make the final eight.

Pressure takes its toll

Against Gonzalez, Blake lacked the pep which had marked his previous performances this year at Melbourne Park, and I believe he felt the pressure of both the occasion and the opportunity.

He had lost the last three times he had played against Gonzalez, and that probably didn’t help his frame of mind either, but the pressure he felt brought on the kind of errors he made, particularly towards the end of the match.

Gonzalez outplayed Blake in every aspect of the game, and that shouldn't happen to a player ranked as high as Blake is.

That third-set tiebreaker told the story of the whole match -- it was almost as though Blake was conceding. He came up with the usual rationale and reasoning afterwards, and, as you’d expect from a respectful, classy individual like Blake, he gave plenty of credit to Gonzalez.

"I think my serve can get better. I think my touch, as proven today, was not spectacular. Hopefully that can get better," Blake said.

"My volleys can improve. I mean, everything can improve. I really think there are some things I can work on. I really hope my game continues to get better."

Clock ticking for Blake

Blake insisted that he won’t suffer from this defeat or allow it to prey on his mind, but it sounded to me like he was trying to believe something he didn’t really believe.

I think this loss will hurt Blake. It will hurt him because he cannot hide from the fact that he might not be good enough at the very highest level.

Besides making the U.S. Open quarterfinals twice, Blake really has little else to show for his play in majors. He's never made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, French Open or Wimbledon.

Blake recently turned 27, and he is running out of time to develop into a legitimate threat at the majors. He was absent for much of what was a ghastly 2004 with illness and injury, and he was a late bloomer to start with, so he is comparatively old in tennis terms.

At his age, he may very well have reached his peak.

I don’t want to keep harping on about his five-set record, but the fact that he has never won a five-set match suggests that he is not truly convinced that he is the real deal. I think that dismal record preys on his mind in major events, and it also hands a psychological advantage to his opponents.

He will take small consolation that he improved on last year’s third round in Melbourne, and he has consolidated his ranking at No. 5 in the world, but he still has a lot of work to do to take the step from being a good player to being a great one.

Blake best on American soil

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the red clay of Roland Garros is always going to be tough for him. In four previous fortnights in Paris, Blake has only once reached the third round, and that was last year.

Blake hasn’t had great results at Wimbledon (also reaching the third round only once), so I am convinced that the U.S. Open remains his best chance of capturing a major or at least getting to the semifinals of one.

He has done well at the U.S. Open the last two years and the New York crowd might just help lift him to where he needs to be if he's going to be mentioned in the same sentence as his good friend and Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick.

Roddick is ranked No. 7, and he is playing superb tennis under the mentoring of coach Jimmy Connors. Roddick has won a major (2003 U.S. Open), and has had much better results in the majors than has Blake.

Blake was arguably the hottest player in the Australian Open draw, and he had a winnable match against Gonzalez, but he fluffed his lines just when it counted the most.

For the American that's an ending he needs to stop repeating at the majors. Until he does, the questions of whether Blake is ready to take the next step in his career will linger.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16754641/

goodwoman
01-23-2007, 11:45 PM
Basically, I agree with this article. It is all about self-belief, and it seems when it comes to majors, James seems to be lacking. I could tell when he was warming up before the Gonzo match, he looked tight. I wanted to give him a shoulder massage ;) . He just looked so much more nervous and tight than he did in the previous match. And it stayed that way throughout. Some players thrive on getting pumped up, but I think that James thrives when he's relaxed and calm.

When his first serves kept hitting the net tape over and over, it just got so frustrating! I know that feeling. I know that if he could have relaxed just a little, it would have improved. I agree that James does question himself regarding grand slams and 5-setters, especially when he lost that 5-setter to Gonzo in Davis Cup last year. I agree that unless he can overcome this doubt, he may never get farther in a grand slam, may never win a 5-setter. James has the ability to do it all. He is so incredibly talented and he works so hard. He just needs more self-belief.

Gonzo is an excellent player, but I know that James could have won that match. James has improved his game, and his mental tenacity has improved too. But when it comes to grand slams and 5-set matches, he's got a little farther to go. I think he can do it. He's got to believe he can do it.

Deboogle!.
01-23-2007, 11:51 PM
When his first serves kept hitting the net tape over and over, it just got so frustrating! It's especially frustrating because I feel like it should be something that would be relatively easy to fix. I don't even play tennis and I can tell that what he does is put his head down, wait a little too long to hit the ball, and so he's hitting down on it. If you notice, when he misses first serves, many more of them go into the net than out, whereas most people there's no rhyme or reason to their missed serves. He's worked on his serve so much, improved his 2nd serve especially, I just don't quite understand why he hasn't been able to fix this little problem that sometimes has big consequences. :scratch:

goodwoman
01-24-2007, 12:30 AM
It's especially frustrating because I feel like it should be something that would be relatively easy to fix. I don't even play tennis and I can tell that what he does is put his head down, wait a little too long to hit the ball, and so he's hitting down on it. If you notice, when he misses first serves, many more of them go into the net than out, whereas most people there's no rhyme or reason to their missed serves. He's worked on his serve so much, improved his 2nd serve especially, I just don't quite understand why he hasn't been able to fix this little problem that sometimes has big consequences. :scratch:

I do play tennis, albeit not well, but I usually have a good serve. There are days, though, when I too hit the net tape over and over, and it can get so frustrating! You work on keeping the head up, go through all of the fundamentals, and still the same result. I find that when I can just relax a little, I can get over it. It seemed like James just needed to relax in that match, take a deep breath, relax the shoulders....believe.

Deboogle!.
01-24-2007, 12:45 AM
I do play tennis, albeit not well, but I usually have a good serve. There are days, though, when I too hit the net tape over and over, and it can get so frustrating! You work on keeping the head up, go through all of the fundamentals, and still the same result. I find that when I can just relax a little, I can get over it. It seemed like James just needed to relax in that match, take a deep breath, relax the shoulders....believe.Yeah, but fundamentally, IMO, for him it is a technical problem that rears its head when he's uncomfortable/nervous/tight/whatever. Like Dementieva but obviously not nearly as bad. Obviously most things in life are easier said than done but it just seems like this should be something he could recognize and fix. Something that was encouraging was how disappointed he was in his press conference. Normally I think James is too complimentary sometimes, he gives his opponent all the credit but seems in denial about part of the problem stemming from his side. So maybe this loss will set him in the right direction and help him realize what he himself has to work on.

MrJ
01-24-2007, 01:36 PM
Still cant get over this loss, such a big opportunity lost. It could have been James ****** Nadal again. :sad: :sad:

goodwoman
01-25-2007, 01:04 AM
Still cant get over this loss, such a big opportunity lost. It could have been James ****** Nadal again. :sad: :sad:

Yeah, it was a real tough one. I feel better now, though, after seeing how Gonzo pretty much demolished Nadal. That guy is on fire! James at least had his chances; Nadal didn't have much. Got to give a lot of credit to Gonzo!

James will get over it. He'll keep working and hopefully keep improving. Like I said before, I really hope his self-confidence improves in regards to 5-setters and grand slams. Once he truly believes he can do it, he will.

Deboogle!.
01-25-2007, 02:33 AM
James will get over it. He'll keep working and hopefully keep improving. Like I said before, I really hope his self-confidence improves in regards to 5-setters and grand slams. Once he truly believes he can do it, he will.It could be one of those things where he just has to do it once, to just get over the hump.

I just wonder if adding someone to his team would help. I know that James and Brian are really close and will probably always work together, but when you see what Stefanki has done with Gonzo and what Connors has done with Andy (I point these two out because the changes were so much more mental than technical in both cases), one just has to think that if james could learn from someone like that, it would help him get over the hump. I dunno. It's just too bad.

Caren
01-25-2007, 01:42 PM
I just wonder if adding someone to his team would help. I know that James and Brian are really close and will probably always work together, but when you see what Stefanki has done with Gonzo and what Connors has done with Andy (I point these two out because the changes were so much more mental than technical in both cases), one just has to think that if james could learn from someone like that, it would help him get over the hump. I dunno. It's just too bad.

Do u know that was something i was thinking about watching the match with Gonzo. Even just a part time thing, it would benefit him so much because there is only no much technical that goes into it. His mental breakdowns aren't quite near Andy's but James is 27, i can't see his career going on for another 10 years ya know, he needs to do something to reach his full potential. I refuse to believe this is his peak!

MrJ
01-27-2007, 02:31 PM
I was thinking that James should hang out with the Williams clan for a while, maybe they can inject some fire and passion inside him. :o
It would be such as shame if he never realised his true potential because of his mental frailties. :sad: