Blake is back [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Blake is back

alfonsojose
06-30-2004, 08:41 PM
Blake to Make Comeback in Newport

http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2004/blake_comeback.asp

:yeah: Go and win Newport. And please, no more headbands. You look like a penis :tape:

See u there Steffi, at hall of fame. I guess Andre will be there with her.

YoursTruly
06-30-2004, 09:02 PM
ALFONSO!!!! :lol:

Nice to see him coming back. He went out in a horrible way!
I'm also excited about Steffi's moment!

PennyThePenguin
07-01-2004, 01:24 AM
come on james! hope u're feeling alright now!

|-Safin_Coria-|
07-01-2004, 01:28 AM
And please, no more headbands. You look like a penis :tape:

HAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAAHA :haha:

Coleburg83
07-01-2004, 01:56 AM
When's the last time Blake won a singles title? Two years ago when Paradorn choked away that final in DC?

He gets far, far too much press for a guy thats top 50.

alfonsojose
07-01-2004, 02:57 AM
I agree, but the U.S. media needs a male version or Venus and Serena.

Clara Bow
07-01-2004, 03:21 AM
I agree, but the U.S. media needs a male version or Venus and Serena.

I'm not quite sure what you mean. He is nothing like Venus or Serena in tempermant or background...or are you making a Hewitt USO type of remark? I find such an assertion (if that was your intent) kind of belittling.

I think he gets a lot of press because he is a good looking guy, went to Harvard, has a good story of overcoming scoliosis and has a very pleasant personality. And he does have some great talent but hasn't been able to harness it. A couple of years ago he did seem like he would be able to have a break through, but unfortunately that has not come to pass. He also doesn't get as much press as he did around 24 or even 18 months ago.

Deboogle!.
07-01-2004, 11:54 AM
James is just a good guy. He signs every autograph even if he has a tough loss, he's happy and friendly and funny and just a great addition to the tour. I think also because his injury was such a freak event, that's why it was mentioned on the ATP stie. It sounds like he is really lucky even to be able to walk again. It's a little bit different than someone coming back from a sprained ankle or something.

Anyway..... I'm thrilled to see he's coming back!

Here's stuff from his quasi-official site:
-----

JB took time out to answer a few of your more timely questions:
........
1. What exactly happened in Rome when you hurt yourself? Who were you practicing with? Did you have to go straight to the hospital?

in rome, i was practicing with robby ginepri when i hurt myself. i was lying on the ground for about 30 minutes until the ambulance got there and took me to the emergency room. what happened was i ran for a drop shot, but when i tried to slide, my foot caught and my body kept going directly into the netpost. i hit my neck and the side of my head on the post.

2. What have you been up to since your injury?
Fran from St. Louis

since my injury, i have been spending most of my time in connecticut. it was a good time for me to catch up with a lot of my friends and especially to see my family. i also have figured out that i really like playing online poker, so i was playing a lot of that.

3. Are you going to watch any Wimbledon on ESPN?
Donna from Los Angeles

i will watch some of wimbledon on tv. it's a little bit tough to watch since i really feel like i should be over there and it kind of makes me miss the feeling of being competitive, but i do still like to see my friends play. so i'll watch andy, and any of the other americans who are doing well.

4. If the Yanks lost their entire starting rotation to injury, would they still end up with the best record on the NY teams?
L. Gottlieb, Yankees Fan

no chance the yankees would still have the best record over the mets if they lost their whole starting rotation. the mets are coming around nicely and will hopefully be in the hunt at the end of the season.

5. Did the time off benefit you in any way? (Other than healing)
John from Duluth, GA

the time off benefitted me by getting more time to spend with my family. that is the toughest part of my job i think, leaving all of my family and friends so much. so it was a great opportunity to catch up. it also may have been a benefit in helping me to realize that i'm not invincible. i know most 24 year old kids think they are unstoppable, but now i realize that things can change very quickly. so it may give me even more appreciation of just being out on the court.

6. Are you going to do anything on behalf of/for the Democratic National Committee this election year?
Ellen from Scottsdale

for the DNC this year i have been asked to do a few events in boston. unfortunately, i will be on the road by the time they would take place, so i won't be able to attend them. i will donate some money to the campaign though.
----
As you probably heard, James was not named to the Olympic team, announced Friday by Captain Patrick McEnroe. Apparently he made his team selection based strictly on the rankings, which earned berths for Roddick, Fish, Spadea and Dent in singles and the Bryan brothers in doubles. I'm sure this was a major disappointment for James, but it does bring good news for those of you in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Long Island and LA, perhaps. He is now confirmed to be playing all those tourneys.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 11:56 AM
I'm not quite sure what you mean. He is nothing like Venus or Serena in tempermant or background...or are you making a Hewitt USO type of remark? I find such an assertion (if that was your intent) kind of belittling.

I think he gets a lot of press because he is a good looking guy, went to Harvard, has a good story of overcoming scoliosis and has a very pleasant personality. And he does have some great talent but hasn't been able to harness it. A couple of years ago he did seem like he would be able to have a break through, but unfortunately that has not come to pass. He also doesn't get as much press as he did around 24 or even 18 months ago.

LOL. That's anything but a racist remark. US tennis does need a top black player. That would be good for the game. Tennis is still predominantly a white sport. Black players at the top of the game is the only way that'll change.

Coleburg83
07-01-2004, 12:14 PM
By white you mean non-black right?

See I've never really thought that South Americans were considered to be so white, but that seems to be the norm when talking about sports like tennis, golf, poker and pool for some reason.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 12:23 PM
By white you mean non-black right?

See I've never really thought that South Americans were considered to be so white, but that seems to be the norm when talking about sports like tennis, golf, poker and pool for some reason.

No, by white I meant white.

South Americans can be many things. White, Caribbean, native, black, a bit of two or all three, etc.

But we're talking of the USA. The largest minority is black folk. They really don't play too much tennis. But look at them in football/basketball. Anyway, the comment is just an innocent remark speaking of a central truth. Venus and Serena have reached out to the black community in America, and encouraged a lot girls to take up racquets. James Blake could further that, and do a lot to encourage black boys to take up the game.

CarnivalCarnage
07-01-2004, 12:24 PM
I should clarify. When I was talking about tennis being predominantly white, I wasn't only talking about the pro ranks.

azza
07-01-2004, 01:06 PM
See u there Steffi, at hall of fame. I guess Andre will be there with her.
:rolls: good one :yeah:

alfonsojose
07-01-2004, 01:37 PM
I'm not quite sure what you mean. He is nothing like Venus or Serena in tempermant or background...or are you making a Hewitt USO type of remark? I find such an assertion (if that was your intent) kind of belittling.

I think he gets a lot of press because he is a good looking guy, went to Harvard, has a good story of overcoming scoliosis and has a very pleasant personality. And he does have some great talent but hasn't been able to harness it. A couple of years ago he did seem like he would be able to have a break through, but unfortunately that has not come to pass. He also doesn't get as much press as he did around 24 or even 18 months ago.

Relax, girl. I'm not racist at all. But it's obvious that Venus and Serena made the sport more attractive for afroamericans and other minorities. That's what i'm talking about. Besides, he has been praised as the next Arthur Ashe (something completely :retard: , he would need to do a lot more)

Clara Bow
07-01-2004, 04:01 PM
Okay- I see what you meant now. But I still think that he would not be the male version of Venus or Serena - they are very different type of people with very idfferent backgorunds. ;)

Along the lines of making the sport more popular amoung different groups, I know that there is a lot of hope that the junior player Donald Young will be a great pro and help bring more people to the sport.

alfonsojose
07-01-2004, 05:36 PM
Everytinhg is :cool:, Clara Bow. And yes, he wouldn't be exactly a male Venus or Serena.

Andre will play doubles at Newport with Rod Laver :bounce:

http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2004/foundation_cup.asp

I forgive u Andre, no more Homo Agassi stuff ;)

Deboogle!.
07-02-2004, 07:38 PM
God it sounds like it was SO SCARY.......thank god he is ok. Even more amazing that he can come back and play tennis.

Blake Begins Comeback In Newport Next Week
By Richard Pagliaro
07/02/2004

Memories of his bone-cracking collision with the net post replay in James Blake's mind like a stop-action film with the same scary ending.

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 like a marionette whose strings were suddenly snapped.

As he lay immobile on the court, pain, panic and fear flooded Blake's body. The sight of his friend flattend on the court provoked the terrifying prospect of paralysis in the mind of Blake's coach and mentor, Brian Barker.

"I feel like I am generally a pretty calm laid-back person, but at that time I was very, very scared," said Blake, who spoke about his accident in a conference call with the media to promote his return to tennis at the Campbellís Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 5-11th at the the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. "The way I hit that pole, the first thing my coach said he was thinking the way I hit it for sure it Iíd be in a wheelchair the rest of my life and was just hoping I was going to be able to walk someday, so he was just as scared as I was apparently."

Lying flat on his back for nearly a half hour on court while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the sheer fear Blake felt escalated with each passing minute.

"I just didnít move, I was on the ground waiting for the ambulance to get there and just couldnít move at all," Blake said. "Once they put me in the neck brace and they had the stretcher out and got me going out to the hospital. At the hospital there was one guy speaking English and helping me out but most of the people didnít speak English and I really didnít know what they were saying or what was going on so I was just sitting there and every thought was going through my mind. I had a feeling I was going to be OK, and not paralyzed with the fact that I had movement in my fingers and feet, so I wasnít scared about that. But I was definitely having thoughts like that I could have broken my neck and been out and never be able to play again to hopefully this is just a bone bruise or something and hopefully Iíll be OK in a couple of weeks to play the French Open ó every thought was going through my mind from hopeful to very, very panicked."

Pain persisted as Blake, who was still cloaked in clay from his collision, was unable to sit up right for a period of time. The 24-year-old Yonkers, New York native underwent extensive X-rays to determine the extent of his injury. Coping with the uncertainty exacerbated his anxiety before doctors diagnosed Blake's injury as a fractured vertebrae in his neck.

A thoughtful, sensitive soul, Blake is widely respected among his fellow players for his intelligence, self-deprecating sense of humor and sense of fair play. Sitting with his coach in a hospital room in a foreign country where he couldn't communicate with many members of the medical staff, Blake had plenty of time to reflect on his predicament and he arrived at the conclusion that as bad as things were, they could always be worse. Forcing himself to smile prevented Blake from sinking in an emotional swamp of self-pity and sorrow.

"Sitting in that hospital for four hours without getting a definitive answer was pretty scary. And the first time they did try to move me, to get me to sit up and I couldnít do it because there was way too much pain, at that point I was even more scared," Blake said. "Then it was X-ray after X-ray after X-ray which was pretty uncomfortable and then all I could think of for the next day or so was I still couldnít really move at all I couldnít really shower I had clay all over me and I was thinking that I read Dennis Byrdís book (the New York Jets defensive lineman who broke his neck after a collision on field) not too long ago, Rise and Walk, about how he was in his uniform for about two days before they finally cut it off him and let him take a bath or something. It helped me to not feel sorry for myself because I knew it could have been a lot worse. We tried to kind of laugh about it a little bit, me and my coach, where he stayed with me the whole time just thinking we better laugh about this because if weíre not laughing weíre going to be crying and thinking this is a lot worse than it is."

Adopting a philosophical approach to his situation helped Blake maintain a positive perspective.

"That got us through it and it was a rough few days in the hospital, no English TV at all, and not the most advanced technological hospital, so it wasnít a ton of fun," Blake said. "But if I run into a pole and this is all that comes out of it and I can be back in six to eight weeks my coach and I both said 'Weíll take this any day,' as (opposed) to how bad it could have been, so Iím just feeling lucky."

Blake's sense of good fortune was evident in his bond with Barker, who has coached Blake since he was a short, skinny 12-year-old living in Fairfield, Connecticut with a big forehand and an occasionally volatile temper on court. Diagnosed with severe Scoliosis at the age of 13, Blake was forced to wear a back brace 18 hours a day during his early teen years. The condition created a sense of self-consciousness and isolation in the shy teenager and Blake has often said that tennis helped give him that sense of self-confidence he lacked in his life.

Player and coach have both grown considerably due to the life experiences they've shared during the 12 years they've worked together and Blake, who has heard members of the media and his own fans sometimes suggest he should seek out another coaching voice, is grateful Barker was at his bed side throughout his stay in the Rome hospital. The shared sense of loyalty and belief Blake and Barker have in each other helped the former Harvard all-American survive the most painful period of his career.

"For one, it was someone who legitimately cared. He saw me hit the post and thought I might not walk, it wasnít that he cared that he might be out of a job, he cared that I wasnít going to be OK and that my life was going to be altered," Blake said of Barker. "This was actually something that I though of while I was in the hospital, wondering what would have happened if I was one of those guys that has different coaches all the time and this was someone that I barely knew and they were staying with me for two days in the hospital ó would they care enough to stay and do that or would they hop on a flight and get out of there? We could talk, and as I said, no American TV so we were there pretty much just hanging out and he was someone who could just keep things in perspective it made it a whole lot easier. He was taking care of all the little thing I wasnít able to do and he was just real helpful and definitely made it a lot easier, I am definitely very lucky. And Iím really lucky to have found him in terms of my tennis heís helped me more than anyone and one of the only guys to get me where I am today and Iím lucky heís such a great guy and a great friend."

Blake, who spent time in Connecticut during his recovering visiting with family and friends and living through the highs and lows of his beloved New York Mets, has returned to the home he shares with older brother Thomas Blake in Tampa and has been practicing with friends Mardy Fish and Jeff Morrison. Blake is pleased with his progress though he lacks a bit of strength in his upper body because of the layoff that can cause muscle atrophy.

"I feel great. The only thing that is taking the longest to come back is maybe my upper body strength a little bit, just because I had that six weeks of really not being able to do anything with my upper body," Blake said. "But it's already back, and Iím practicing 100 percent. Iíve been warming up with Jeff Morrison and Mardy Fish and I feel great, my legs are definitely still there. Itís just a matter of getting used to the heat down here in Tampa. But my legs are there, as I was doing a lot of biking and just kind of whatever they would let me do when I was hurt. So I was doing as much as I could do to make sure it was as quick of a recovery as possible."

Recovering from his back injury prevented Blake from competing before the Royal Box at Wimbledon, but he stayed busy during his break dealing aces in games with kings and queens.

"I was watching plenty of TV and I actually was playing a lot of poker," Blake said. "I played a lot of online poker. Itís something I was asked to do through Celebrity Poker Showdown and I started playing online poker just to try to learn that a little bit better so I didnít make a fool of myself on TV and then after I did play that I kind of enjoyed it a lot and wanted to get better then I had a ton of time so I started playing a little more and itís something when you have the time you can do it. But now Iíve cut back so much now, I barely play maybe a few times a week. So I enjoyed playing that and watching a bunch of TV and just hanging out with my friends. I live with actually a few girls in Connecticut and they were keeping me pretty busy. So just being around my friends and my family, Iíve spent a lot of time with them."

It's been almost exactly two months since Blake's last match ó a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Jiri Novak in the opening-round of Rome on May 3rd ó and the eagerness and enthusiasm is evident in his voice as he discusses his return to tournament tennis at next week's Campbellís Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 5-11th at the grass-court grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

The 2002 Newport runner-up to Davis Cup teammate Taylor Dent, Blake has entered Newport as the top seed in each of the past two years. As a former Yonkers, New York and Fairfield, Connecticut resident who was an all-American at Harvard, Blake always enjoys strong fan support at Newport where his family and friends make the trip to watch him play. While he'd like to script a storybook start to his comeback by winning the Newport title, Blake is smart enough to realize it will take time to regain the form that made him a consistent presence in the top 30 for much of last year.

"(Winning) it would be a time for me. I have a whole lot of emotion there," Blake said. "I came close a couple years ago losing to Taylor Dent in the finals, and to win it that close to home and being my first tournament back it would be a real thrill to me. And like I said, I feel like Iíve come so far since the days of getting wild cards into the tournament, just because I was local and feeling like (Hall of Fame CEO and tournament director) Mark [Stenning] was doing me a favor, now ah to come back and feel like one of the contenders and actually win it would prove to me that Iíve come a long way and have worked hard the past few years to get where I am and to do that possible in front of my family and friends would be a real thrill and would definitely be a moment Iíd treasure for hopefully my whole life."

Often an animated presence on court, Blake will bring even more enthusiasm, energy and excitement to the court. When he arrived at Harvard as a freshman, Blake was just hoping to make an impact as a singles starter and never envisioned the pro career, IMG modeling contract or popularity with fans that would follow.

The 38th-ranked Blake genuinely views his comeback as a second chance at a career he's blessed to have in the first place.

"I think Iím going to be a little more enthusiastic on the court, just glad to be back," Blake said. "To be back on the courts for me is going to be very exciting, just being out in practice is a lot of fun for me, Iím getting a kick out of just playing baseline games and stuff, and it gives me a new appreciation about when you are sitting around and watching the French Open and Wimbledon on TV when you know you can play it at that level, so getting out there now Iím definitely going to be excited to be in Newport and be playing a match that counts for something and get those feelings of pressure, those feelings of a big match or just all the competitive juices you really want to get flowing and you really miss that, itís something that I donít think will go away from me for a long time. I love being out there competing and itís the sport I have chosen and the sport I feel Iím the best at and I love getting out there and competing."

alfonsojose
07-02-2004, 08:03 PM
OFMG. I have no idea how bad it was. Good luck for him at Newport

Deboogle!.
07-06-2004, 06:29 PM
James won his first round match today!

(2)J Blake (USA) d D Norman (BEL) 76(7) 63

MissPovaFan
07-06-2004, 06:40 PM
Well done James! On a similar note has anyone been able to find any live scores from Newport? I find the offiical website pretty poor to be honest.

Deboogle!.
07-06-2004, 07:12 PM
Nope no such luck.... it's horrible and livescore.com doesn't even have any scores updating at all not even between sets or anything :(

MissPovaFan
07-06-2004, 07:17 PM
Nope no such luck.... it's horrible and livescore.com doesn't even have any scores updating at all not even between sets or anything :(

Thats a pretty poor effort - its about one of the only sites that doesnt have such facilities :mad:

Ballbuster
07-06-2004, 07:32 PM
-hispanic is the largest minority in the USA.
..Does every single thread about a black tennis player have to turn racial? this happens with all serena/venus threads at wtaworld

Clara Bow
07-06-2004, 07:40 PM
I had no idea it was so bad. Good job winning today James. So happy to see him back. :)

Deboogle!.
07-06-2004, 07:40 PM
Thats a pretty poor effort - its about one of the only sites that doesnt have such facilities :mad:

Yeah, definitely.... a couple of the other smaller US tournies are bad too. Back in April, Houston was just as atrocious and I would call people in between sets to update the scores for people here. Scottsdale was bad as well but I believe both of these at least had sporadic updates from livescore.com. Damn :mad:

ŅesquŪmaux?
07-06-2004, 07:46 PM
:bigwave: Welcome back Blakey! :bigwave:

rue
07-06-2004, 09:04 PM
I had no idea about the details and that must have been scary for him. Glad that he is okay and playing tennis again.