James Blake

James Blake
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James Blake Biography

James Riley Blake (born 28 December 1979) is an American professional tennis player. Blake was born in Yonkers, New York to parents Thomas Sr. (an African-American) and Betty (who is European-English). He has a brother, Thomas Jr., who is also a professional tennis player, and two older half-brothers, Christopher and Howard. Blake attended Fairfield Warde High School, in Fairfield, Connecticut. He dropped out of Harvard University after his sophomore year to pursue a career in tennis. Blake was inspired to pursue tennis after hearing his role model, Arthur Ashe, speak to the Harlem Junior Tennis Program. Brian Barker was his first (and current) coach. At age 21, Blake saw his first Davis Cup action in 2001 against India and became the third African-American man to play the Davis Cup for the United States. Blake won the 2002 USTA Waikola Challenger in Hawaii. He has also twice won the Hopman Cup (with Serena Williams & Lindsay Davenport). Blake was named Rookie of the Year for the 2000 World Team Tennis season, and he has appeared in People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. He is also good friends with singer/songwriter John Mayer, who is also from Fairfield. Away from tennis, Blake also enjoys golf, basketball, and baseball. Blake has also been featured on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. 2004 was an especially difficult year for Blake. He broke his neck while practicing at a tournament in Rome in May, developed shingles, and in July lost his father to cancer. James did not know if he would ever play tennis again. However, he persevered with help from his family and friends, reentered the tennis world at No. 210 and climbed up to 49 in the rankings. He entered the 2005 US Open as a wildcard, where he staged a remarkable comeback, defeating 2nd seed Rafael Nadal in the round of 32. In beating his next opponent, Blake achieved his best Grand Slam effort of his career reaching the quarterfinals, where he succumbed to Andre Agassi in a fifth-set tiebreak. However, Blake continued his superb play winning in October 2005 by his third ATP tour title at the Stockholm Open in Sweden. Blake defeated Thai player Paradorn Srichaphan in the final 6-1 7-6. Blake finished 2005 ranked at No. 22 in the world according to the entry ATP rankings. January 2006 started out slow for Blake as he lost in the second round of the Adelaide International. However, Blake bounced back and won the Sydney International winning his fourth ATP tour title defeating Russian Igor Andreev in the final 6-2 3-6 7-6 in blistering heat. Blake had high hopes at the 2006 Australian Open he was seeded No. 20, yet he lost in the third round to Spanish player Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4 6-4. The loss was a set back since Blake had a 2-0 in career head to head against the Spaniard. Roberedo clearly was seeking revenge after Blake ousted him at the US Open in the fourth round last year. However, according to the January 30th 2006 ATP entry rankings he has cracked into the top 20 for the very first time in his career. His main weapons are his incredible speed, return of serve, ability to hit the ball on the rise, and his "monster forehand", giving him an ability to hit down-the-line winners from seemingly impossible positions. He is also very agile and covers the court extremely well. His first serve, while powerful, is somewhat mercurial, his second serve accuracy sometimes fluctuating between the seventies and the low thirties in a single match. Blake has greatly improved his backhand which used to be a weakness. Read Full Bio >>

James Blake Trivia

  • American tennis player. His best ranking was number 22 on the world in 2003.
  • American tennis player. His best ranking was number 22 on the world in 2003.
  • His mother, Betty, is British & his father, Thomas, is African American
  • Attended Harvard University
  • Grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut with singer John Mayer.
  • Father Thomas died in July 2004 of stomach cancer at age 57.
  • Dropped out of Harvard University to turn pro in 1999, while ranked the number one college player in the country.
  • Cites tennis player Arthur Ashe as his role model and hero.


James Blake Photos

  • James Blake Dale, Kelly Reilly

    4th Annual Governors Awards - Arrivals

  • James Blake

    International Tennis Hall of Fame's Legends Ball 2012 - Arrivals

  • James Blake

    Vodafone MexeFest 2011 - Day 2

  • Michelle Obama, Jon Vegosen, James Blake, Billie Jean King, Katrina Adams, John McEnroe

    First Lady Michelle Obama Appears at a Let’s Move! U.S. Open Tennis Clinic During Day 12 of the 2011 US Open in Flushing Meadow on September 9, 2011

  • Michelle Obama, James Blake

    First Lady Michelle Obama Appears at a Let’s Move! U.S. Open Tennis Clinic During Day 12 of the 2011 US Open in Flushing Meadow on September 9, 2011

  • James Blake

    2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize - Arrivals

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