(August 26, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – James Blake announced in a Monday morning news conference at the US Open that he is retiring from the tennis tour. The US Open will be his final tournament.
”No real surprise here,” said the former No. 4. “This is my last tournament. I have had 14 pretty darn good years on tour, loved every minute of it, and I definitely couldn’t have asked for a better career.”
Blake who was tearful at points in his news conference, said now his focus will be on his family.
“The competition is something else I will miss,” said the 33-year-old American. “I will miss pressure‑packed moments, break points, set points, match points, crowd getting into it. But I’m so, so fortunate to have a life after this that I’m looking forward to with my wife, with my family.
“You know, there are so many athletes that say they can never replace that feeling of having that adrenaline rush, but I get more of an adrenaline rush now seeing my daughter wake up in the morning. That’s something that I’m truly looking forward to, being able to spend more time with my wife and daughter.”
Blake, who left Harvard before becoming a pro in 1999 reached his career high No. in the world in 2006.
“I don’t kid myself. I know I have had a great career in my eyes, but it’s not one that’s going to go down in the history books,” Blake said. “It’s not one that’s going to end in Newport (home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame) but it’s one that I’m proud of.”
Blake survived two major health scares – breaking vertebrae in his neck and suffering from an illness which affected his sight and temporarily paralyzed a portion of his face.
He also raised money for cancer in honor of his father who died from stomach cancer.
“I know I’m lucky enough to have spent 24 years with a guy I couldn’t have asked for a better father and someone to treat me ‑‑ to raise me the way he did and for me to learn how to be a man from no better role model.”
“I don’t want to be dragged out of this game”, said Blake. “I don’t want someone telling me I need to leave. I want to leave on my own terms. I’m happy doing that right now.”
Blake, who is ranked No. 100 in the world, will face Ivo Karlovic in the first round.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News