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Old 08-08-2002, 09:59 AM   #1
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Default James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

just IMHO, and I confess that I haven't followed Blake's game for long, but from what I've seen, I don't think he will ever be a force to be reckoned with in Grand Slams...a good player that will probably have a decent career and results, a la Andrei Pavel or MaliVai Washington for example, but hardly the Slam titlist and answer to Sampras and Agassi's retirement that the American Media is hopeing for...not trying to belittle the mentioned players' careers, but where Roddick's game still has lots of room for improvement, I think James is playing almost as good as he can right now...
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Old 08-08-2002, 10:58 AM   #2
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i dont think someone expects Blake to win a Slam...he's just a good player and a cute boy,not a phenomenon like Roddick
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Old 08-08-2002, 11:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

Quote:
Originally posted by Ace Tracker
just IMHO, and I confess that I haven't followed Blake's game for long, but from what I've seen, I don't think he will ever be a force to be reckoned with in Grand Slams...a good player that will probably have a decent career and results, a la Andrei Pavel or MaliVai Washington for example, but hardly the Slam titlist and answer to Sampras and Agassi's retirement that the American Media is hopeing for...not trying to belittle the mentioned players' careers, but where Roddick's game still has lots of room for improvement, I think James is playing almost as good as he can right now...
I completely agree
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Old 08-08-2002, 12:33 PM   #4
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If he wants to take it to the next level, I suggest he work on his footing. He has great shots, but he looked confused all the time when Juan Carlos ran him around.
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Old 08-08-2002, 12:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
not trying to belittle the mentioned players' careers, but where Roddick's game still has lots of room for improvement, I think James is playing almost as good as he can right now...
i disagree. both Roddick and james have room for improvement and actually James has shown more growth over the past year than Roddick. James a year ago had NO backhand. James a year later has an unreliable backhand. James next year will have a backhand with zing and consistency if he works on it. i'm not sure that he is Slam-worthy either but i think he will continue to steadily improve as he has been doing. nice discussion thread tho'.

also i entirely agree with Pea. that's exactly what i said in the live thread last night as we were discussing the game. james just seemed confused. his footwork need to improve, also his strategising and occasional shot selection. sometimes he didn't expect the ball to come back. no professional tennis player ever assumes that the ball won't come back!
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Old 08-08-2002, 01:13 PM   #6
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James has only just started to play seriously on the tour. It would be a mistake to write him off this early. He is only twenty two and has a lot of years ahead of him. Look how long it has taken Haas to really start taking off. James has a similar game. He needs to work on his serve, and I agree with what tennischick said above about his footwork or lack thereof and his confusion. He has a lot of potential and he should not be written off.
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Old 08-08-2002, 04:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

Quote:
Originally posted by Ace Tracker
just IMHO, and I confess that I haven't followed Blake's game for long, but from what I've seen, I don't think he will ever be a force to be reckoned with in Grand Slams...a good player that will probably have a decent career and results, a la Andrei Pavel or MaliVai Washington for example, but hardly the Slam titlist and answer to Sampras and Agassi's retirement that the American Media is hopeing for...not trying to belittle the mentioned players' careers, but where Roddick's game still has lots of room for improvement, I think James is playing almost as good as he can right now...
You have got to be kidding me. This is only his second year on tour!! Of course he's not playing Slam-worthy tennis right now, but give him a few years and he could do some damage. TC had some good points with his footwork, and he also needs match confidence. He turned it on last night in the third set but couldn't get over his frustration at making so many unforced errors as well as hard serves & groundies.
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Old 08-08-2002, 05:30 PM   #8
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These young guys need time to develop (mentally, physically) There's too much pressure and media put on them. Roddick, Blake, Federer. They'll win a Slam when and if they're ready. And they're all improving, especially Blake just in the last year. Not everyone is going to be a Hewitt and win a Slam by the time they're 21. Anyway, someone said not too long ago that both Agassi and Sampras won most of their Slams after the age of 25. Patience!
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Old 08-08-2002, 11:49 PM   #9
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As much as everyone on this board is unnecessarily vicious to poor Andy (that is ok because he is the second most popular tennis player on the planet after Agassi) he really is the best young player America has, and really has the game to win grand slams (ok not Roland Garros but all the others). James also has lots of room for improvement. I don't think that you can really write any player off as a threat until everything is said and done and they have retired. (especially the men's tour where upsets are the norm). GO USA~
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Old 08-08-2002, 11:54 PM   #10
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I thought this thread is about James.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:36 AM   #11
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

BUMP.

Interesting thread. This was at the end of 2002, the media was looking for the successors of Sampras/Agassi. Andy was written off at the time since he didn't perform well enough in the slams in 2002 and James was the next big thing. I think that the prediction of the thread starter is safe.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennischick View Post
i disagree. both Roddick and james have room for improvement and actually James has shown more growth over the past year than Roddick. James a year ago had NO backhand. James a year later has an unreliable backhand. James next year will have a backhand with zing and consistency if he works on it. i'm not sure that he is Slam-worthy either but i think he will continue to steadily improve as he has been doing. nice discussion thread tho'.

also i entirely agree with Pea. that's exactly what i said in the live thread last night as we were discussing the game. james just seemed confused. his footwork need to improve, also his strategising and occasional shot selection. sometimes he didn't expect the ball to come back. no professional tennis player ever assumes that the ball won't come back!
Injuries came to play after 2002 but James did improve in 2005-2006. The backhand got "zing" but "James backhand" and "consistency" do not belong together in the same sentence.
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Old 12-22-2007, 07:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

The thread starter was quite prescient five years ago.

Asked to describe his game, Blake says he is a shotmaker. His game plan is to look for every opportunity to hit a winner. It's a low-percentage game and not likely to produce a winning run to a Major or Master Series title. When things aren't going well in a match Blake never seems to adjust his game and implement a Plan-B. You would think a Harvard-educated intelligent player would adjust better, wouldn't you? (A memorable exception to this tendency seems to be his memorable 5 setter against the Magician at the last US Open.)

Blake also lacks the mental strength and confidence to come back when he's down in a match. In the last couple years the support of the J-Block and/or his Davis Cup coach and team mates can keep him from mentally beating himself up. Absent that support the pattern reappears.

Blake has retained his childhood coach throughout his career. His loyalty is admirable. I occasionally wonder if he might have done better if he'd had some top rank coaching. The best players seem to seek and benefit from great coaching.

My final frustration applies to the entire American field. They have a stubborn resistance to improving their skills on surfaces other than hard courts. If players like Moya and Ferrer can learn to successfully adapt their game to hard courts, it's difficult to understand why the Americans can't also adapt to other surfaces.

It's fun to watch Blake when he's hitting alot of winners but I doubt we'll ever put him on a list of players who developed and maximized their natural talents.
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Old 12-22-2007, 09:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: James Blake is a good player but is not Slam material...

Thanks for stating the obvious!

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Old 12-23-2007, 12:21 AM   #15
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