Blake Makes It To The Third Round

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Andy Roddick may be retiring, but James Blake is still going strong.

Actually, he’s better than strong, he looks downright deadly after today’s second round win over No. 24 seed Marcel Granollers, 6-1 6-4 6-2.

“Yeah, today’s match was one of the best matches I played in years I think,” Blake said.  “I served really well.  I took care of my serve.  I don’t think he had a breakpoint all match.  That doesn’t happen with me.  I’m not Andy Roddick.  I don’t go through matches like that that often, especially against a guy that’s 20‑something in the world that’s known to be a pretty darn good returner and very solid.

“I think that was a good testament to how well I was serving and how well I was taking care of my serve, which puts a lot of pressure on him, which is going to work out for me.  Any time I get to take chances to take rips on my returns, because I’m serving so well, I think it’s going to be a good matchup for me.”

Blake was able to take the match from the beginning with Granollers not able to handle the veteran’s serves. He looked strong and made very few mistakes.

He credits himself from being healthy and now playing his best tennis in years. In fact, if it wasn’t for this run, Blake may have had a presser today to announce his retirement.

“Everyone’s at different points,” he said.  “I’d say if this was going on three months ago, I might have had a different answer.  I might have been thinking a lot more seriously about it, too.

“It’s funny now, I feel like I’ve got sort of a youthful exuberance out there again.  My match tonight, I think a couple years ago, five years ago, six years ago, I would think this is a relatively routine win, get through it, get to the next round, thinking about that.

“I’m going to try to enjoy this.  I’m excited now.  It’s a lot of fun because I went through a pretty tough time.  With my knee injury and surgery, I really thought it might be time.  It might be time to call it a career.  Now that it’s not and I feel good again, it’s fun.

“It’s so much fun to keep getting better because for six months or so earlier this year, I didn’t feel like I was getting better.  I didn’t feel like I could improve or compete.”

Blake also credits fatherhood for giving him a new lease on life. With the birth of his new daughter, he now sees why life short and to enjoy everything every day.

“Fatherhood has been unbelievable,” he said.  “Now it’s tough to imagine it beforehand.  I didn’t expect it to be so great, so exciting so fast.  It was something where I think I was thinking about it, and I thought, I kind of want the kid to come out at two or three years old, walking and talking and stuff.  I didn’t realize the baby stage can be so much fun, when they fall asleep on your chest, when they’re cooing a little bit, thrashing around on their play mat.  Everything about it is so much fun.

“Now I can’t imagine life before Riley”

And we can’t imagine tennis without Blake. So hopefully he postpones his retirement for a number of years.

 

 

Querrey The Forgotten Man

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – With all the attention going to Andy Roddick, John Isner, Mardy Fish and at this tournament, James Blake, Sam Querrey has become the forgotten man at the US Open.

And it was just a year ago when he was 17th in the world but then fell to 120th after a knee injury.

Now he’s back to 28th in the world and is the No. 27 seed at the Open.

“I was hurt last year and dropped from 17 to 120,” he said. “But it was very tough to get back to where I am now at 28.”

Today he made a step to continue his climb by beating Yen-Hsun, 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5 to move onto the second round of the Open.

“Lu is a tough player,” he said.  “A little windy.  Hits the ball low and flat.  It’s tough for me because I’m a taller guy, I like it up a little higher.

“I didn’t play my best out there, but I just stuck with it so I’m happy to move on.”

Believe it or not, Querrey could be the face of American’s tennis in the near future. He is only 24 and by today’s standards approaching his prime. A former Top 20 player in the world, Querrey has a chance to make some noise.

But he has to keep on track and that includes staying healthy and keep on winning.

“I need to keep winning like I’ve been doing,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been playing at a higher level than 28.  I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, I can get back into the top 15 and hopefully top 10.

“I want to keep serving big, hitting big forehands and taking risks and going for it more like I’ve been doing.”

He said we are in a period where guys in late 20s have been taking center stage. He things eventually the cycle will swing back to the teenagers eventually but that’s not anytime soon.

So with some of the top players getting older, Querrey has a chance to make some noise, even at this Open where he feels like he’s playing his best tennis.

But the second round comes first with a match against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

“I play Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo who I played once before on grass in Newport like four years ago,” he said. “So I don’t really remember a whole lot.  I feel like if I serve well and do what I did today, hit big forehands, I have a good chance to win that and hopefully move on to the next round.”

If he does, he may not be the forgotten man in American men’s tennis anymore.

 

 

Hall Of Famer, Tennis Legend Bjorn Borg Returns To New York To Replace Injured Jimmy Connors, Takes On John McEnroe In July 14 World TeamTennis Match At Sportime Randall’s Island

NEW YORK (July 7, 2011) – Tennis Hall of Famer Bjorn Borg will step in to replace fellow tennis legend Jimmy Connors to face long-time rival John McEnroe in a World TeamTennis match on July 14 at Sportime Randall’s Island.  Borg and McEnroe will compete against each other that night when the defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Sportimes face the Philadelphia Freedoms.  Connors is not be able to participate due to a knee injury.

The evening will be a special benefit for The Johnny Mac Tennis Project, with tickets sold by the Project to raise funds to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area. Recipients will attend the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is completing its first year at Sportime Randall’s Island. Ticket prices for the match will be $250, $150 and $60; special VIP tickets are also available; please consult your tax advisor concerning the tax deductibility of ticket purchases. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 1-888-988-6921 or visit www.nysportimes.com.

This will be first WTT match in 17 years for Borg, who will be joining the Philadelphia Freedoms roster for the evening.  Borg last played WTT for the Atlanta Thunder in 1994.  Borg also played for the Cleveland Nets in 1977 and the Los Angeles Strings in 1993.

The centerpiece of the brief but enthralling rivalry between McEnroe and Borg was the epic 1980 Wimbledon final, which included an 18-16 tiebreaker in the fourth set. McEnroe won the tiebreaker but it was Borg who captured the fifth set and his fifth straight Wimbledon.

Borg won 63 singles titles, including 11 Grand Slam Championships, and also added four pro career doubles titles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

“We are elated that Bjorn answered John’s call to step in for Jimmy on what will be a fun and important night for tennis in New York,” said Claude Okin, Sportimes CEO. “The relationship that Bjorn and John haves very special.  Theirs is truly one of the great rivalries in sports history, and seeing them both on court, in New York, next week will be a great treat for everyone there. And the funds we raise that night will be critical in helping us to assist talented young people in learning the great game of tennis in New York City.”

The July 14 WTT matchup will feature Borg and McEnroe competing against each other in men’s singles in the five set WTT coed team format.  Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis will also play for the New York Sportimes that evening as McEnroe’s fellow team member.

In other 2011 WTT matches, the Sportimes will host the Boston Lobsters on July 6 with Martina Hingis leading the Sportimes squad; the Sportimes will take on the St. Louis Aces on July 11; the Springfield Lasers come to NYC on July 15, with John McEnroe and Martina Hingis playing for New York; Serena Williams of the Washington Kastles will battle Martina Hingis when the Sportimes host their Eastern Conference rivals on July 20.  In addition to the home matches at the state-of-the art, 2,000 seat facility at SPORTIME Randall’s Island, the Sportimes will play two home matches in Albany, N.Y., at the SEFCU Arena: July 18 versus Kansas City starring the World No. 1 Bryan Brothers, and July 19 when the Sportimes take on the Washington Kastles featuring Serena Williams.

For more information on the facility, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy or the NY Sportimes, visit www.SportimeNY.com/Manhattan or www.JohnMcEnroeTennisAcademy.com.

Contact: Joe Favorito, 917-566-8345, fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com

; Jerry Milani, 917-797-5663, Jerry.Milani@yahoo.com