Blake Go Out In Spectacular Fashion

Maybe James Blake should play for the New York Mets next, because he sure knows how to spectacularly go down in flames.

He would fit right in.

The 33 year-old’s victory tour came to an abrupt end in the first round when the retiring Blake lost to Ivo Karlovic, 6-7 (2) 3-6 6-4 7-6 (2) 7-6 (2).

The bell tolled after midnight for Blake with a 3 hour and 24 minute epic, which saw the fan favorite blow a 2-0 lead to finally lose to the Croat who is ranked 79th in the world.

” I mean, it’s not ideal,” Blake said.  “Try to have some perspective immediately after and think about the fact that it is just one match and it won’t be the defining moment of my career luckily.

“I’m proud that I have the rest of my career to look back on as some pretty good matches, some pretty good wins.  Hopefully this won’t be my lasting memory, is that loss, up two sets to love, two tiebreakers in the fourth and fifth, losing both of those.  Pretty much in my hands at times, and I was the one that I felt like I gave them away.

“So that’s frustrating.  But, like I said, it’s one match.  I think I lost 200 something over my career.  It’s not a fun way to do it, but only one guy’s holding the trophy at the end of this two weeks.

“I wished it was me.  I did everything to prepare as if it could be me.  It’s not.”

But if you followed Blake’s career, you know he wouldn’t have it any other way. It was never easy for the Yonkers native, who had a history of dropping two set leads. Most notably back in 2005 when he had an epic match against Andre Agassi.

But that doesn’t matter to the Yonkers native.

“There’s no good way to go out unless you’re holding that trophy,” he said.  “Yeah, I guess if you want to look at the positive that way, you can.

“You know, I definitely won’t sleep a whole lot tonight.  I’ll be thinking about opportunities I had.  When it’s that close, you know, obviously a point here and there could change it.  I definitely had opportunities and didn’t take advantage at times, and other times he came up with great serves and great shots.

“Chances are it wasn’t going to end with me holding the trophy, but I did my best to put myself in position for that.”

So now Blake will take some time off. His main job will be changing diapers and thinking about his next stage of his life. Tennis was good to him and Blake took it seriously. And as a professional athlete, he never could just veg out and do what he wanted to do.

Blake needed to always be on the top of his game.

” As much as our job does seem easy and it is very fortunate what we do, one thing that’s different about our lives as athletes is we’re always pro athletes,” he said. “So when you feel like you have time off, you still have to be training.  You still can’t be going out, staying till 3:00, 4:00 in the morning like your buddies can because they have to be at work and get through it with a couple cups of coffee.

“You can’t fake your way through a tournament.  You’re sort of on a pretty selfish schedule, a pretty regimented schedule, for a big portion of your life.  I’m looking forward to not having that.  If I feel like staying up late and hanging out with my friends or taking a weekend trip to Mexico, just being with my wife and kids or whatever, I’ve never really had that opportunity.”

But as a 33 year-old millionaire, who won almost $8 million during his career and knowing him, he has a good amount saved, Blake doesn’t have to do anything if he doesn’t want to do.

So now, it will just be about enjoying himself.

” Take in some Mets games, some Yankees games, some Giants games this season.  Taking in plenty of games sitting on my couch watching them on DIRECTV, too.  That’s pretty comfortable these days,” he said.  “Yeah, I’ll do a lot of things.  Like I said, I’m so lucky.  I don’t know what I’m going to say honestly in two weeks.  Am I unemployed?  Am I retired at 33?  Am I in between jobs?  It’s going to be interesting, but I’m looking forward to just relaxing and seeing what comes.

“I’ll definitely have time to do those things.  Before, my schedule would never allow a lot of those things to happen.  Now on a whim, we can go to a Mets game tonight, go to a Broadway show tonight.  Call my mom, baby‑sit, we’re off.  I’m sure I’ll take in plenty of the culture here.”

And now he can just look to the Mets for the spectacular losses.

He will be missed.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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