James Blake’s singles career came to an end yesterday night at the US Open with a 6-7(2), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 7-6(2) defeat to Ivo Karlovic on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I don’t know when it’s going to hit me,” the former World No. 4 said on court. “I don’t think I’ll be sleeping much tonight.
James Blake following the footsteps of fellow Compatriot Andy Roddick who hung his rackets after last year's US open, thanked all his fans and supporters that stood by him.
“Thanks for staying everyone. I can look at the clock, it’s after midnight and I’ve still got a lot of people here supporting me. It’s hitting me now that I’m never going to have this again in my life, and I need to appreciate every single one of you for being here.”
Blake is known for his speed and powerful, flat forehand. As at this month, Blake had amassed 24 career finals appearances (10–14 record), whilst his career-high singles ranking was World No. 4.
His career highlights included reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (2008) and US Open (2005, 2006), as well as being the former American No. 1.
Blake was a key performer for the United States 2007 Davis Cup championship team, going 2–0 in the championship tie vs. Russia at second singles. Later, in 2008, Blake was awarded an honor by the ATP where he was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year.
The most challenging period of Blake's life came in 2004... While practicing with Robby Ginepri for the Masters event in Rome, he broke his neck when he slipped on the clay and collided with the net post. In July, his father died of stomach cancer. At the same time, Blake developed shingles, which temporarily paralyzed half his face and blurred his sight.
Blake's injuries and personal issues caused him to post relatively poor results for the first half of 2005. By April his ranking was 210. He gladly received a wildcard to play at the 2005 US Open where he posted his best career grand slam performance by reaching the Quarter finals of the event, defeating Rafa Nadal in the process.
Blake was then presented with the Comeback Player of the Year award for his remarkable return to the tour.
On July 3, 2007, Blake's autobiography Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, which discussed his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at No. 22 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Blake received a standing ovation after the match, and told the crowd, “That ovation makes me realise that everything I did, that every bit of hard work was worth it to play in front of you guys, and to do this for 14 years. If I’d just been playing in my backyard, it wouldn’t have meant anything, but to do it in front of you guys, I have so many highs and lows in front of you. It’ll never be forgotten. I’m going to take in every memory I’ve had here.
“I also have to say there’s a few that are special here. Everyone sitting in my box is so important to me. I’m definitely going to think about this match and how I could have won it, but I’m lucky enough to still think of this as a happy moment because I have the rest of my life to spend with the people there in that box. They’ve all been with me through a lot more highs and lows than just tennis. And now the rest of my life will revolve around that, my family and friends. I love you guys for being here and being part of my life and my career."
Thank you Blake for everything you brought to the sport, fare thee well.