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.