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James Blake will retire when he finishes at the U.S. Open

August 26, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • American tennis player James Blake announced Monday he will retire after the U.S. Open. Above, Blake at last year's Open.
American tennis player James Blake announced Monday he will retire after… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)

NEW YORK -- Former top-five player James Blake announced Monday he would retire after this U.S. Open.

“This is my last tournament,” Blake said. "I have had 14 pretty darn good years on tour and have loved every minute of it. I definitely couldn’t have asked for a better career.

“I did the best in every situation, and I know probably anyone in here that’s covered me has heard me probably annoyingly give the answer often that my goals ... instead of ranking-based, were instead to get better and try to improve every day in practice and, when I’m done playing and put the rackets down, be content with what I did and happy I did everything the right way.

Blake, 33, said he is, “really excited I have gotten to do this on my terms. I had knee surgery a couple years ago and if that had been the end it would have been a little more disappointing to me to end it without going out the way I am now where, still, just two weeks ago, I beat a guy top-20 in the world.”

His most memorable moment at the Open, Blake said, was also his least likable memory.

“It was against Andre Agassi. Quarterfinals. Couldn’t have been any more hyped. I was coming back [from injury]. He was at the end of his career. I had beaten the No. 2 in the world, Rafael Nadal. A lot of times those matches fizzle.

“I was hoping that was going to be the case when I won the first two sets, 6-3, 6-3. Andre had different plans and played like a champion. Third and fourth sets were his without any trouble. The fifth, we both came up with our best. We left our best out there on the court. He won the tiebreaker. I still haven’t watched it. I don’t know when I will.”

In his first match, Blake will play big-serving Ivo Karlovic, a Croatian. That will be either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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