Like Andy Roddick before him, James Blake decided to end his singles tennis career at the U.S. Open. It’s a suitable conclusion for Blake, a New York native who once rose to number four overall in the world before slowly, but surely, slipping down the ranks into tennis oblivion. That his career was capped by a heartbreaking first-round meltdown is all the more fitting.
Blake went up two sets on Ivo Karlovic, but his Croatian opponent fough back to win the match on a fifth set tiebreak (7-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 6-7). There was an expectation — nay, a hope — that Blake, who announced that this U.S. Open would be his last tournament, would make a run of some kind and go out with a bang.
Nope. Here’s the final point: An ace by Karlovic that Blake challenged, to no avail.
Oy. So it goes for Blake, another American tennis player who came so, so close to breaking through into the elite ranks but just couldn’t make it happen. His thoughts after the match, which ended past midnight:
“I definitely won’t sleep a whole lot tonight,” Blake said. “I’ll be thinking about opportunities I had.”
Don’t you love it when a quote can sum up an entire career? We’ll miss you, James — though we won’t miss the early Grand Slam exits.
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