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Old 04-04-2005, 10:48 PM   #211
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

Hmmmmmph, where's our JB Forum!

Anyway, here's a really nice article on James from the new edition of Tennis Life Magazine:
--------------
Blake’s Net Gains
By Eleanor Preston

A freak accident, family tragedy and a debilitating virus all conspired to make James Blake's 2004 season a nightmare, but now the 24-year-old is healthier, wiser, and he thinks, a better player than ever before.

“...and that’s when I broke my neck.”

It’s not the sort of sentence you hear every day but the way James Blake casually throws it into conversation suggests he has more than come to terms with the freak accident that threatened to stop him from walking, let alone playing pro tennis.

Blake was chasing down a drop shot on a practice court at the Foro Italico in May last year when he ran, head first, into the net post and fractured vertebrae in his neck. It began a chain of horrible events that included the loss of his father and having to cope with an energy-sapping virus—all of which sidelined the American for eight months and threatened to curtail his career before he’d turned 25. For Blake, 2004 proved to be the sort of year that would have finished off lesser men but he is not the sort of fellow to let a broken neck slow him down. Now returned to full fitness, he is already talking excitedly about returning to where he was before that net post got in his way.

“I always try to look on the bright side,” Blake said from his home in Florida. “I was very lucky with hitting it at the angle that I did. The doctor said the impact was so great that if I had hit the top of my head, I definitely wouldn’t have been walking again. Having that time off also meant I could be with my father before he died and so it was very fortunate in that way.

“I’ve tried to find the silver lining in all of this. It was a very difficult experience and very painful but I got through it and now I appreciate my health a little bit more than I did before.”

Blake grew up with scoliosis of the spine so severe that he spent two years of his childhood in a neck brace. As a result, he was never a man to take his charmed life as a tennis player for granted but his experiences have fired his hunger and given him a deeper understanding of just how much he loves the job he very nearly lost.

He is delighted to be back on the tour and he proved it with an exuberant display of free hitting to lead Lleyton Hewitt by a set and a break in the second round of the Australian Open this past January. To those watching, it was a reminder of just how talented and engaging a performer the New Yorker can be. It also brought home to Blake just how much he had longed to be back, taking on big players in big arenas and giving them a run for their money.

“It was exactly what I missed for eight months, and once you get a little taste of it you want to keep having it,” he said. “I missed it a lot and getting back to it was pretty exciting, especially as it was against a top player in his home country and with huge crowd watching. That’s about as good as it gets in this sport and that’s where I want to get back to.”

With a ranking outside the top 100, Blake knows he will have his work cut out to recapture his place in the upper echelons of the rankings but there is no doubt in his voice when he talks about his future. He is keen to work his way back into Patrick McEnroe’s Davis Cup team, an ambition fired by his experience of joining the squad during their semifinal against Belarus in Charleston last September.

“Davis Cup is always in the back of my mind because I love it so much,” he said. “I love being part of a team and I love those guys. Andy and Mardy and the Bryans are some of my best friends on tour. Being with them in Charles-ton made me realize that there is a big difference between just hanging out with the team and really contributing to the team and winning the big matches. You have that satisfaction of knowing that the team couldn’t have won the tie without you. That’s such a great feeling and one that I really want to have again. That’s just another motivation for me.”

As if he needed more. “I feel like I’m started back at square one and that’s a good feeling to have,” he said. “I feel like one of my best years was when I first broke through. You go on to the court with the attitude of needing to prove yourself, to prove that you belong on the tour, and I now feel that I have to do that again. I want to get back to where I feel I belong, but there’s no way anyone’s just going to give that to me. So I’m going to have to go out there and prove it all over again. It wasn’t a fluke that I got up towards the top of the game before. I want to get back there again.”

If his annus horribilis last season and the run in with the net post have given Blake a heightened sense of perspective about his career, then he admits there are some lessons he may never learn—chasing down drop shots being one of them.

“I’d like to think I got a little smarter and a little bit more conservative, but since that injury, I still run into backstops,” he admitted, a little sheepishly. “I still dive for balls—I did one against Lleyton at the Australian Open and cut open my hand and my knee—and I get caught up in the side netting when I run for the ball indoors. I’ve got a little bit better at taking my foot off the accelerator in practice but it’s not in my nature to really slow down.

“It’s just instinct for me to go for every shot and go out 100 percent.”
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:53 PM   #212
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

I've never seen this forum before, but James definitely deserves it!
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:56 PM   #213
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

It just finally popped up this morning
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:57 PM   #214
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/rssstory.mpl/sports/3125734
Quote:
April 9, 2005, 1:10AM
Blake is making a comeback
Injury-plagued American will meet Haas in semifinals
By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

James Blake looks at Tommy Haas and immediately feels better about his chances of becoming the player he still believes he can be, a player capable of beating anybody anywhere on any surface.

Haas, once the No. 2 player in the world, has come back from two shoulder operations, the first for full rotator-cuff surgery. Blake, once the No. 22 player in the world, is trying to come back from a broken neck, a broken heart and a broken face, all incurred in 2004. The kind of year, he says, "I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy."

So, for a number of reasons, he is delighted to have the opportunity to take Haas' measure in the River Oaks International semifinals. They've only played once before, when Blake was ascendant and Haas was despondent, contemplating the end of his career.

The right perspective
Blake won easily, a script the unseeded 25-year-old American says he's unlikely to reprise today. But that won't matter.

"I've learned there are worse things than losing tennis matches," he said.

Blake is playing tennis matches again, and he's playing them pretty well, too, as Hugo Armando will attest. Blake took out Armando, the tournament's defending co-champion, with surprising ease 6-4, 6-2. Earlier, the top-seeded Haas had eliminated Mike Russell 6-3, 6-3.

Russell bears scars of his own. He had surgery on both knees in October. And another semifinalist, No. 8 Dmitry Tursunov, who ousted 18-year-old Phillip Simmonds 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, has been on the court just once in 2005 as he continues rehabbing from a broken vertebrae in the lower back suffered July 4.

Ginepri vs. Ryderstedt
Of River Oaks' final four, only the No. 5 seed, Robby Ginepri, hasn't had to cope with any serious medical emergencies of late, although he admits he did endure a troubling period of brain-dead tennis last year. He also had early relapses, but his opponent, 20-year-old Michael Ryderstedt succumbed with a bare minimum of resistance 6-1, 6-3, never looking like the player who had upset the second-seed, Jiri Novak.

Blake's travails began in Rome May 6, when he collided with a net post during a practice hit and cracked a vertebrae in his spine. Even that proved fortunate because doctors told him had he struck his head as fast as he was moving, he'd likely be in a wheel chair today.

But just as he was feeling better, a different kind of trauma felled him.

His father, Tom, died of cancer. The stress of that ordeal, on top of the injury, apparently made him vulnerable to a disease called zoster, which left him dizzy with blurred vision and half of his face paralyzed.

"I could barely hit a ball," he said. "But I was so bored that I decided to play a tournament and that cost me my protected ranking, as I knew it would. I didn't care."

The ATP requires a full six-month layoff. His entering the Delray Beach, Fla., event explains why he's currently 188th in the world.

"I don't mind trying to earn it again," Blake said of the lengthy climb ahead. "If I don't get back, then I won't deserve to get back."

Haas loves Houston
Haas, 27 and ranked 16th, is much further along — but he had further to go, having missed most of two years while doctors tried to successfully repair his shoulder. Last April in Houston, he announced his return to good health by whipping Andy Roddick in the U.S. Clay Courts finals at Westside Tennis Club.

"There haven't been any jolts of pain since that scared me," Haas said after dispatching Russell. "Believe me, I know what to look for."

dale.robertson@chron.com
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Old 05-17-2007, 02:09 AM   #215
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

hey guys, does anyone know what grip James Blake uses on his forehand?

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:47 PM   #216
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

James on Regis now...
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:28 AM   #217
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

James was signing his book in New Haven yesterday:

http://www.courant.com/sports/hc-bla...,4091896.story

There is also a video on the Hartford Courant sports section online but I couldn't figure out how to get the address - don't know how long they keep them up.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:43 PM   #218
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

James is going to appear on The tonight show with Jay Leno tonight
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Old 07-29-2007, 02:45 PM   #219
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

Hey!!! I've just joined and am touring the forums of all the players I like!!! I can't wait for James' book to be published in the UK! And hopefully I'll be seeing him at the O2 arena in september at the Turbo Tennis event!
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:18 PM   #220
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Default Re: The James Blake Thread

Hello,

in an other forum I read that James Blake following his racket, Dunlop Aerogel 200 (18 * 20) covered with:

String: Luxilon Alu Power 1.25 mm tension: 31kg

Now my question is whether these values are able to vote and correct?

Thank you
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