James Blake announced on Monday he was retiring from tennis after the US Open. The 33-year-old American told a news conference at Flushing Meadows he could have played on but decided it was time for him to quit. “This is my last tournament,” he said.
“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. “I’m really, 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.”
Blake, currently ranked 100th in world, plays Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in the first round.
One of the most respected players on the circuit, Blake was inspired to take up tennis after hearing Arthur Ashe address a group of young players at a tennis clinic in Harlem.
He turned pro in 1999 after attending Harvard University but endured plenty of hardship along the way. He was diagnosed with curvature of the spine when he was a child and broke his neck in a freak accident in Rome in 2004, the same year his father died, but said his experiences gave him a sense of perspective in a sport where players earn millions of dollars and travel the world.
“I think that time being part of the biggest tragedies of my life to this point also clued me in to how lucky I am right now to be doing this on my terms.”